President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced he was disbanding two business advisory groups amid a flurry of resignations by members regarding his remarks about a deadly hate rally in Virginia.
"Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!" he said on Twitter.
The move came after the heads of 3M CEO and Campbell Soup resigned from the manufacturing council earlier in the day.
Trump berated business leaders Tuesday and tried to deflect blame for the departures.
“They're not taking their job seriously as it pertains to this country. We want jobs, manufacturing in this country. If you look at some of those people that you're talking about, they're outside of the country. They're having a lot of their product made outside,” he said at a news conference.
Eight members of the manufacturing council had resigned before Trump decided to end the advisory groups, with some announcing their intentions on social media in comments that were sharply critical of Trump's response to the Charlottesville rally.
Among them was the head of the country’s largest federation of unions, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL–CIO).
The group’s president, Richard Trumka, and deputy chief of staff, Thea Lee, said they “cannot sit on a council for a president who tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism.”
The defections were prompted by Trump's reaction to a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville that left one woman dead and nearly 20 others injured after a car rammed into counter-protesters.
At Tuesday’s news conference, Trump said "both sides" were to blame for the deadly violence.
Trump set up the manufacturing council in January to get advice from business leaders about revitalizing manufacturing — a major focus of his campaign.
The Strategic and Policy Forum, that was separate from the manufacturing council, was a group of business executives tapped to advise Trump on the economy.
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, quit the council in June because of Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement.
By Safvan Allahverdi in Washington
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