On Monday, three of the corporate members of President Trump’s American Manufacturing Council dropped out of the Council after the president failed to promptly condemn the neo-Nazis and fascists for their conduct in Charlottesville. Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier resigned first and explicitly cited Trump’s failure to condemn white supremacy. His resignation was followed by that of the CEOs of Under Armour and Intel.
The American Manufacturing Council is a group of prominent CEOs set up to advise Trump about manufacturing in the US.
Trump responded to these resignations by tweeting, “For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should not have gone on. JOBS!” After which the CEO of the Alliance for American Manufacturing tweeted that he was dropping out as well.
Disturbingly, this still leaves 19 CEOs in place. What are they waiting for?
The leaders of Dow, Dell, Whirlpool, Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, AFL-CIO, Campbell’s, and International Paper all condemned the actions of white supremacists in Charlottesville but still remain on the Council. Even worse, when asked to comment by Business Insider, the CEOs of Harris Corp, Nucor, United Technologies, Dana, Timken, and Boeing, along with former Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman, all failed to comment on the violence in Charlottesville and Trump’s response. In general, the companies that are choosing to remain are justifying their continued membership by stating that they want to take part in policy that will lead to the growth of their industries and jobs.
However, considering that in the first six months of Trump’s presidency, he has failed to pass laws or create policies that lead to job growth, and has instead attacked industries like clean energy that are major job generators, it is hard to see how working with the White House is actually in the interest of these businesses from a purely economic standpoint. And, even if it was, isn’t it time for America’s corporate leaders to distance themselves from a White House that stokes racism and refuses to condemn acts of violence motivated by racism, religious intolerance, and anti-immigrant sentiments?
Corporations increasingly talk about the need for increased diversity to create a stronger country and more profitable and sustainable companies. It’s time for all of the corporate leaders on the Council to live by their words and do the right thing by dropping their membership immediately.
As our Green Business Network® members demonstrate every day, business can and should be a force for good. When our president refuses to immediately and unequivocally repudiate racism and white-supremacist violence, the business community must stand against it. Green America applauds Intel, Under Armour, the AFL-CIO, and Merck for refusing to be a party to tolerating hate.