One day after Trump tweet-boasted that “for every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council I have many to take their place,” calling those who left “grandstanders,” POTUS this morning tweeted, “Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both,” he tweeted, adding “Thank you all!”
But Trump was scrambling to catch up.
Before he could make the announcement, two more CEOs from the manufacturing council had beat him to the punch. That brought to eight the number who decided the downside of being associated with Trump outweighed the upside of having a voice at the council, after Trump’s unhinged presser at Trump Tower, in which he again insisted both sides were to blame for the violence in Charlottesville, VA at a neo-Nazi/white supremacist rally.
And members of the Strategic and Policy Forum had already agreed to disband their group entirely, CNBC reported, citing a member who said, “The thinking was it was important to do as a group…not as individuals, because it would have more significant impact. It makes a central point that it’s not going to go forward. It’s done.”
Meanwhile, Campbell Soup CEO Denise Morrison this morning became the latest chief exec to take a powder from Trump’s now-disbanded manufacturing council, bringing the tally to eight exits or about a third of the group.
“Racism and murder are unequivocally reprehensible and are not morally equivalent to anything else that happened in Charlottesville,” Morrison said in a statement. “I believe the President should have been — and still needs to be — unambiguous on that point.”
Except he had been just that, in his Monday do-over statement on the violence in Charlottesville, only then he walked it back at his Tuesday Trump Tower news conference in which he was supposed to tout his infrastructure plans, then put a sock in it and get back on the elevator, leaving it to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to take questions from the press.
Sixteen CEOs remained on that council when Trump tweeted that their services were not longer required.
And, for those keeping score, the Strategic & Police Forum’s members who decided to disband included:
- Steve Scharzman, CEO Blackstone, who led the group
- Paul Atkins, CEO, Patomak Global Partners
- Mary Barra, Chairman and CEO, General Motors
- Toby Cosgrove, CEO, Cleveland Clinic
- Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase
- Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO, BlackRock
- Rich Lesser, President and CEO, Boston Consulting Group
- Doug McMillon, President and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
- Jim McNerney, Former Chairman, President, and CEO, Boeing
- Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo
- Adebayo “Bayo” Ogunlesi, Chairman and Managing Partner, Global Infrastructure Partners
- Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President, and CEO, IBM
- Kevin Warsh, Shepard Family Distinguished Visiting Fellow in Economics, Hoover Institute,
- Mark Weinberger, Global Chairman and CEO, EY
- Jack Welch, Former Chairman and CEO, General Electric
- Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer Prize-winner, Vice Chairman of IHS Markit