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Corporate chiefs flee Trump; advisory panels disbanded, including 1 with Wal-Mart leader on it

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published August 16, 2017 at 1:03 p.m. Updated August 16, 2017 at 5:20 p.m.


In this photo taken Aug. 14, 2017, President Donald Trump speaks in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington. President Donald Trump appears to have mistakenly retweeted a message from one of his critics saying "he's a fascist." Trump deleted his retweet Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, after about five minutes, but not before the message sent to his 35 million followers racked up a big response. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

NEW YORK — With corporate chieftains fleeing, President Donald Trump abruptly abolished two of his White House business councils Wednesday.

Trump announced the action via tweet, although only after one of the panels had already agreed to disband earlier in the day. A growing number of business leaders on the councils had openly criticized his remarks laying blame for the violence at a white supremacists rally in Charlottesville, Va., on "both sides."

"Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!" Trump tweeted from New York.

Bentonville-based Wal-Mart's CEO and president, Doug McMillon, was a member of the president's Strategic and Policy Forum, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette previously reported.

The decision came as the White House tried to manage the repercussions from Trump's remarks a day earlier. Presidential advisers hunkered down, offering no public defense while privately expressing frustration with his comments.

Some Republicans and scores of Democrats denounced Trump's statements as putting white supremacists on equal moral footing with counter-protesters in Charlottesville and called for an apology. Most of those Republicans, including congressional leaders, did not specifically criticize the president.

Trump himself stayed out of sight, tweeting occasionally about a primary in Alabama, the stock market and, once, his campaign slogan.

On Wednesday, Denise Morrison, chief executive of Campbell Soup, declared she was leaving Trump's manufacturing council, saying, "The president should have been — and still needs to be — unambiguous" in denouncing the white supremacists who organized the Charlottesville rally.

CEOs had begun tendering their resignations from White House panels after Trump's first comments after the Saturday violence. The first to step down, Kenneth Frazier of Merck, drew a Twitter tongue-lashing from the president. Later, Trump called those who were leaving "grandstanders" and insisted many others were eager to take their places.

On Wednesday, he appeared to be pre-empting a decision the CEOs had already reached to disband.

Members of the Strategy and Policy group, led by Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman, concluded after a 45-minute conference call in the morning that they would end the council and announce their decision in a statement, according to two people familiar with the discussions. They insisted on anonymity to discuss private conversations.

In a subsequent call with Trump, the president agreed it was the right course of action. He tweeted before they could announce the decision they'd reached — making it appear it was his choice.

Read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.


Comments on: Corporate chiefs flee Trump; advisory panels disbanded, including 1 with Wal-Mart leader on it

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RBear says... August 16, 2017 at 1:22 p.m.

Everything with this administration is falling apart. Trump can't get legislation passed, can't follow through on many campaign promises, can't negotiate foreign policy, and now can't maintain good relations with business. This presidency will be on life support by the time they get to 2016, if they even make it to 2016.

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TimberTopper says... August 16, 2017 at 2:04 p.m.

Bear,are you lifting a few this morning?

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TimberTopper says... August 16, 2017 at 2:07 p.m.

This babyman can get along with no one. His report card should read, "doesn't play well with others".

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23cal says... August 16, 2017 at 3:03 p.m.

Rather than continue the drip, drip, drip of bad publicity and rancor from them quitting over his Nazi/racism support, he chose to cut his losses by ending the program....trying to keep his "image" is so much more important than input from business leaders on business and infrastructure.
What a sad, bumbling, incompetent administration.

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3WorldState1 says... August 16, 2017 at 3:41 p.m.

So now he doesn't care about jobs? T%he fact is they were all about to quit. Because they have boards and have to answer to share holders. Something Kanye doesn't understand (except with the Russians)
An embarrassment and a disgrace.

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ARMNAR says... August 16, 2017 at 5:32 p.m.

Everything Drumpf touches turns to sh1t.


And his supporters are quite conspicuous by their absence here.


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hah406 says... August 16, 2017 at 5:39 p.m.

Let's be clear. The liar in chief, the incompetent, psychotic, egotistical, masculinity-threatened man-child claimed he disbanded the advisors councils. He did not! They all resigned. He is not fit for the presidency, and either congress or the military should remove him.

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wildblueyonder says... August 16, 2017 at 7:26 p.m.

I think the year is 2017.

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RBear says... August 16, 2017 at 8:44 p.m.

TT, LOL maybe so. I got wrapped up in some research and documents this afternoon and had a brain fart on the years. I meant 2020. One of those days.

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DoubleBlind says... August 16, 2017 at 10:34 p.m.

Would love to see real private sector LEADERS form a sort of 'shadow' govt designed to draw a stark contrast between what Trump promised - but can't deliver - and what is truly possible.

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