Donald Trump has closed two US business councils after bosses quit over his handling of the violence in Charlottesville at the weekend.
Interestingly, not a single member of his Evangelical Council – representing religious organisations – felt the need to protest in the same way.
The heads of 3M, Campbell Soup, Johnson & Johnson and United Technologies announced their resignations on Wednesday, after Trump backtracked on his condemnation of neo-Nazi racism and blamed protesters against it as well, in a press conference on Tuesday.
The BBC reported that “JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, a member of the Strategy and Policy Forum, released a separate statement on Wednesday saying he strongly disagreed with Mr Trump’s recent statements, adding that ‘fanning divisiveness is not the answer. Constructive economic and regulatory policies are not enough and will not matter if we do not address the divisions in our country. It is a leader’s role, in business or government, to bring people together, not tear them apart’.
“Denise Morrison of Campbell Soup Co said she could not continue to participate in the advisory panel after Mr Trump’s comments. Activists had called on Campbell Soup, among other firms, to take action.”
At first, Trump had been defiant, claiming that the exodus involved “grandstanders”:
For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should not have gone on. JOBS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 15, 2017
But he soon changed his tune:
Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2017
Some have suggested that the CEOs left because they believed supporting Trump would harm them:
Exodus of CEOs from Trump support as they fear boycotts of their products by anti-racist public, could lead to President Pence.
— Paul Flynn (@PaulFlynnMP) August 16, 2017
This shows a significant wind-change from previous tangles with Trump, in which Boeing and General Motors both saw their stock prices fall. Commenters like George Takei took the opportunity to make it personal:
Trump was seeing CEOs flee his Manufacturing Council, so he disbanded it. Bet his dad canceled his bday parties, too, when no kids RSVPed.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) August 16, 2017
But the really interesting aspect of this is the fact that not one representative of organised religion in the US has resigned from Trump’s Evangelical Council, despite the threat represented by the rise of the neo-Nazis.
Not a single member of Trump's Evangelical Council has resigned. We have learned corporate America has a greater moral compass. So so sad.
— Matthew Dowd (@matthewjdowd) August 16, 2017
Some have seen this as another echo of 1930s Germany:
An important observation (lots of so-called Christians got on board with the fascism project in Europe in the 30s & 40s). https://t.co/0yq1qwZQ8h
— Another Angry Voice (@Angry_Voice) August 16, 2017
Others have concentrated on the possibility of institutionalised racism:
Trump's slaughter of business councils: he's more interested in whiteness than capitalism – thus very at odds with 9/10 of America
— Paul Mason (@paulmasonnews) August 16, 2017
Either way, President Trump has raised serious questions about his own appropriateness to remain President.
Leading figures of the US entertainment world have called for his impeachment.
Can the politicians be far behind?
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