President Donald Trump has decided to disband the council of his Manufacturing Jobs Initiative. The announcement came Wednesday morning, amidst a large exodus of the council's membership in response to the President's comments regarding a recent white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, VA. By Tweet, the president said:
Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2017
As of Wednesday, several members of President Trump's Manufacturing Jobs Initiative had departed including: Kenneth Frazier, CEO of pharmaceutical company Merck; Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank; Scott Paul, the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing; Richard Trumka, of the AFL-CIO, along with Thea Lee, the AFL-CIO's deputy chief of staff; 3M CEO Inge Thulin; and Intel CEO Brian Krzanich.
In a blog post , Intel's Krzanich explained his departure, saying:
“ I resigned to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues, including the serious need to address the decline of American manufacturing. Politics and political agendas have sidelined the important mission of rebuilding America’s manufacturing base. ... I am not a politician. I am an engineer who has spent most of his career working in factories that manufacture the world’s most advanced devices. Yet, it is clear even to me that nearly every issue is now politicized to the point where significant progress is impossible. Promoting American manufacturing should not be a political issue.”
Under Armour's Plank, echoed Krzanich's sentiment, expressing a desire to focus on technological innovation over political entanglements. In a statement released by Under Amour, Plank said, “We remain resolute in our potential and ability to improve American manufacturing. However, Under Armour engages in innovation and sports, not politics ...” In the past year Under Armour has gained attention for applying 3D printing techniques to shoe design and manufacturing.
Paul, of the Alliance of American Manufacturing, tweeted about his departure, saying, “... it's the right thing to do.”
I'm resigning from the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative because it's the right thing for me to do.
— Scott Paul (@ScottPaulAAM) August 15, 2017
President Trump's Manufacturing Jobs Initiative, first announced back in January, was supposed to be a think tank, bringing together the most prominent business leaders in American manufacturing to tackle the problem of creating job growth in the manufacturing sector. At its inception the council boasted CEOs from companies including Tesla, Ford, Dow Chemical, Dell, Lockheed-Martin, and General Electric among its 28 members. However over the course of the year the council had been steadily dwindling, with the largest exodus coming this week.
The first major blow to the council's membership came in June when Tesla CEO Elon Musk resigned from the council in response to President Trump pulling out of the Paris climate accord. Musk, a known environmentalist , tweeted:
Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 1, 2017
Other members had left the council for more benign