AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Deputy Chief of Staff Thea Lee resigned on Tuesday from President Donald Trump's manufacturing council, slamming his remarks about protests in Virginia and saying he "tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism".
The CEO delivered carefully chosen and well-timed words that Trump has failed to find.
Controversy swirled after Trump's widely-criticized initial response to the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Va. over the weekend.
It was a thoughtful move that sends two strong messages. "Politics and political agendas have sidelined the important mission of rebuilding America's manufacturing base". That's important both for OR and the nation. "Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans", the president said. I resigned because I want to make progress, while many in Washington seem more concerned with attacking anyone who disagrees with them. One woman was killed when one of the demonstrators rammed a vehicle into a group of counter-protesters. "It's a major advantage to have such a pro-business President like Donald Trump", said Plank, who supports Trump's job initiative.
Earlier in the day, Frazier said that he was stepping down in protest. The only other pharma CEO on the committee, Johnson & Johnson's Alex Gorsky, said he wouldn't quit the council because the company " must engage if we hope to change the world and those who lead it", while decrying "intolerance, racism, and violence".
The remaining corporate chieftains on the council have come under pressure from employees and on social media to depart from the council after Trump pinned the blame on the Charlottesville unrest on "both sides".
Before his Tuesday tweet, Trump had fired back at Frazier and the pharmaceutical giant twice Monday, but had not posted messages to Twitter that directly responded to the decisions by Plank or Krzanich.
He followed the remarks with a tweet saying "Made additional remarks on Charlottesville and realize once again that the #Fake News Media will never be satisfied...truly bad people!"
Michael Dell is the only tech CEO left on Trump's council, although he's still in good company.
He later said the executives leaving the council "are not taking their jobs seriously" and are "leaving out of embarrassment" because he has been "lecturing them" on America First.