CEOs quit Trump council after Charlottesville riots

CEOs quit Trump council after Charlottesville riots

By then nearly two days had passed since the president's first remarks on Charlottesville - and some of the nation's most prominent business leaders had filled the gap with denunciations of racism.

Three days after the violence - and shortly after Frazier's highly publicised exit - the President issued a statement saying: "Racism is evil - and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans".

The CEO of Under Armour, Kevin Plank, announced his resignation from the council in a Twitter posting.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Plank said that he was "appreciative of the opportunity to have served" and that his company remained "resolute in our potential and ability to improve American manufacturing".

Earlier this year, Plank had publicly expressed support for Trump in comments which sparked a backlash.

Frazier's resignation followed an outcry by critics about how President Trump had responded to protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend that were led by white supremacist groups and turned violent.

CEO Elon Musk resigned from the manufacturing council in June, and two other advisory groups to the president, after the US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement.

Kenneth Frazier, the CEO of drug giant Merck that left President Trump's manufacturing council following Trump's refusal to condemn white supremacists, was previously a lawyer who helped free a black death row inmate falsely accused of murder.

FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, file photo, Merck Chairman and CEO Kenneth Frazier participates in a session "The Future of Impact", at the Clinton Global Initiative in NY.

Frazier is registered as a Democrat in Pennsylvania.

The clean energy advocate spoke publicly about wanting to advise Trump on climate issues, even though the president downplayed the problem.

Meg Whitman, the chief executive of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, praised Mr. Frazier's decision and said on Twitter: "I'm thankful we have business leaders such as Ken to remind America of its better angels ..."

Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs who has called the President's decision to bail on the climate-change deal a set back, tweeted: "Lincoln: 'A house divided against itself can not stand.' Isolate those who try to separate us". "In this time of tumult in our country, Americans deserve a leader that will bring us all together and denounce those who seek to tear us apart". Now some of those same business leaders are turning on President Trump.

"The AFL-CIO has unequivocally denounced the actions of bigoted domestic terrorists in Charlottesville and called on the president to do the same", Trumka said in a statement.

Four CEOs have resigned from President Donald Trump's American Manufacturing Council in the wake of the violence at Charlottesville over the weekend.

Walt Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger also resigned from a White House advisory council for the same reason. Musk also left the manufacturing council.

Former CEO at Uber Technologies Travis Kalanick quit an advisory council during February amidst pressure from employees and activists who opposed the immigration policies of the administration.

But he will likely be unable to escape questions and criticism for his initial response to the Saturday's violence, for which he blamed bigotry on "many sides".

Asked about the president's words and lack of direct condemnation of white nationalist groups, Sessions defended Trump's statement and said he expected him to address the incident again later on Monday.