Too toxic to touch: CEOs flee Trump council before president disbands it

Seven CEOs dropped out of the president's manufacturing council before he disbanded it on Wednesday, along with another board of top executives.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Inge Thulin of 3M and Denise Morrison of Campbell Soup joined the flight of CEOs exiting the White House’s manufacturing council on Wednesday afternoon. Minutes later, President Donald Trump disbanded the council.

Thulin and Morrison left the council a day after Trump’s ill-received press conference at Trump Tower in which he drew the ire of critics across the political spectrum by appearing to defend white supremacists.

On Wednesday, a separate council called the strategic and policy forum was also disbanded.

Thulin released a statement on her decision on Wednesday.

In the days after Trump’s "many sides" statement, Morrison stuck by her decision to remain on the manufacturing council. While calling the the events at Charlottesville "reprehensible," she justified her decision, saying, "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."

However, after Trump again delivered an equivocating response, blaming "both sides" for the violence in the Virginia city, Morrison joined the corporate defection and stepped down.

Here’s how the rest of the manufacturing council have (and have not) responded to Trump’s speech Tuesday.

Andrew Liveris, Dow Chemical
"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."

Bill Brown, Harris Corporation
No statement

Michael Dell, 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, 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."

Jeff Fettig, Whirlpool
No statement

Mark Fields, Ford Motor Company
Ford replaced Fields with Jim Hackett, the former head of the Ford Smart Mobility unit and former chief executive of Steelcase.

Kenneth Frazier, Merck
Resigned

Alex Gorsky, Johnson & Johnson
"Ours is an important voice on healthcare, one that global leaders at every level, in and out of government, need to hear," Alex Gorsky, CEO of Johnson & Johnson said in a statement. "If we aren't in the room advocating for global health as a top priority, if we aren't there standing up for our belief in diversity and inclusion, or if we fail to speak out when the situation demands it, then we have abdicated our Credo responsibility. We must engage if we hope to change the world and those who lead it."

Greg Hayes, United Technologies
No statement

Marlyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin
"Marillyn Hewson is a member of the manufacturing council. We don’t have a comment."

Jeff Immelt, GE
Resigning from position as CEO and chairman

Jim Kamsickas, Dana
No statement

Klaus Kleinfeld, Arconic
Stepped down from position amid a proxy fight with an activist investor.

Rich Kyle, The Timken Company
No statement

Thea Lee and Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO

Mario Longhi, U.S. Steel
Retoi June 30

Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing
Refers to statement made by the Business Roundtable, a trade organization for U.S. CEOs

Elon Musk, Tesla
Quit two of Trump’s councils in early June following the White House’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

Doug Oberhelman, Caterpillar
Retired from position as CEO and chairman on March 31.

Scott Paul, Alliance for American Manufacturing

Kevin Plank, Under Armour

Michael Polk, Newell Brands
"I found this past weekend’s events incredibly troubling. There is simply no place in our society for racism of any kind, white supremacy or neo-Nazism. The values that form these views are intolerable and completely contrary to everything I hold true as a proud American. I reject and condemn all that hate stands for and hope that as a society, we can come together as one in this view."

Mark Sutton, 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."

Wendall Weeks, Corning
No Statement

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