Some CEOs stick with Trump despite his latest racist controversy

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Three CEOs announced on Monday that they would step down from the Trump administration’s Manufacturing Council, amid the uproar over the president’s mishandling of the response to the weekend’s white nationalist attacks in Charlottesville, Virginia. But several more told ThinkProgress they would stay put and continue to serve in their advisory role in the Trump administration.

Merck CEO Kenneth Frazer, the only black member of Trump’s manufacturing council, according to the most recent list, was the first  to resign on Monday, citing a “responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.” Though Trump quickly took to Twitter to repeatedly attack Frazer and Merck, Under Armour’s Kevin Planck and Intel’s Brian Krzanich soon also announced their departures.

ThinkProgress reached out to each of the remaining people the White House has identified as members of the president’s Manufacturing Jobs Initiative council to ask whether they planned to follow suit. Corporate spokespeople responded on behalf of several members; while most noted their opposition to white nationalist violence, all indicated that they would stay put on the council anyway.

They included representatives for:

Michael Dell, chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies: “While we wouldn’t comment on any member’s personal decision, there’s no change in Dell engaging with the Trump administration and governments around the world to share our perspective on policy issues that affect our company, customers and employees.”

John Ferriola, chairman, CEO and president of Nucor Corporation: “At Nucor, we condemn the violence that occurred this past weekend in Charlottesville and reject the hate, bigotry, and racism expressed at the demonstration. As North America’s largest steel producer, Nucor has engaged with several administrations to work on policies that help strengthen the U.S. manufacturing sector and provide opportunities for American workers. We believe a strong manufacturing sector is the backbone of a strong economy, and we will continue to serve as a member of the White House Manufacturing Jobs Initiative.”

Marlyn Hewson, chairman, president, and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation: “Thanks for checking in. Marillyn Hewson is a member of the manufacturing council. We don’t have a comment.”

Andrew Liveris, chairman and CEO of The Dow Chemical Company: “I condemn the violence this weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, and my thoughts and prayers are with those who lost loved ones and with the people of Virginia. In Dow there is no room for hatred, racism, or bigotry. Dow will continue to work to strengthen the social and economic fabric of the communities where it operates – including supporting policies that help create employment opportunities in manufacturing and rebuild the American workforce.”

Denise Morrison, president and CEO of Campbell Soup Company: “The reprehensible scenes of bigotry and hatred on display in Charlottesville over the weekend have no place in our society. Not simply because of the violence, but because the racist ideology at the center of the protests is wrong and must be condemned in no uncertain terms. Campbell has long held the belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to the success of our business and our culture. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is unwavering, and we will remain active champions for these efforts.We believe it continues to be important for Campbell to have a voice and provide input on matters that will affect our industry, our company and our employees in support of growth. Therefore, Ms. Morrison will remain on the President’s Manufacturing Jobs Initiative.”

Mark Sutton, chairman and CEO of International Paper: “International Paper strongly condemns the violence that took place in Charlottesville over the weekend – there is no place for hatred, bigotry and racism in our society. We are a company that fosters an inclusive workforce where all employees are valued and treated with dignity and respect.  Through our participation on the Manufacturing Jobs Council, we will work to strengthen the social and economic fabric of communities across the country by creating employment opportunities in manufacturing.”

Representatives for Bill Brown of Harris Corporation, Jeff Fettig of Whirlpool Corporation, Alex Gorsky of Johnson & Johnson, Greg Hayes of United Technologies Corp., Jim Kamsickas of Dana Inc., Rich Kyle of The Timken Company, Thea Lee and Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO, Scott Paul of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, Inge Thulin of 3M, and Wendell Weeks of Corning did not immediately respond to inquiries.

Telsa’s Elon Musk left the council in June, after Trump’s announcement that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate agreements. Ford Motor Company’s Mark Fields, General Electric’s Jeff Immelt, Arconic’s Klaus Kleinfeld, US Steel’s Mario Longhi, and Caterpillar’s Doug Oberhelman — who were also initially named members of the council — are no longer CEOs of those companies.

The volunteer council ostensibly was established  to advise the White House on how promote growth in manufacturing jobs.The Trump administration has said it would prioritize a massive draw-down in regulatory consumer protection, corporate tax rates, and cutting trade deficits.

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