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Posted: August 15, 2017

3 more executives leave Trump's manufacturing council in aftermath of Charlottesville

President Donald Trump speaks in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
President Donald Trump speaks in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

By Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk


President Donald Trump on Tuesday told reporters that the CEOs who have resigned from the White House manufacturing council in the days since the president blamed “many sides” for violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, have done so “out of embarrassment” on the same day that a pair of executives announced their exits from the group.

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“They’re not taking their job seriously as it pertains to this country,” Trump said during a fiery news conference at Trump Tower.

He claimed that four business leaders who announced their resignations on Monday and Tuesday were trying to avoid pressure from him to make their products in the U.S.

>> Related: Trump again blames ‘both sides’ for violence in Charlottesville

“I’ve been lecturing them about … (how) you have to bring it back to this country,” Trump said.

A fifth business leader, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, announced his departure from the council and the departure of AFL-CIO Deputy Chief of Staff Thea Lee shortly after Trump made his comments.

Earlier Tuesday, Scott Paul, president of the nonprofit American Alliance for Manufacturing, announced his exit, “because it’s the right thing for me to do.”

>> Related: Intel CEO is 3rd executive to resign from Trump's Manufacturing Council 

Trumka said in a statement that he and Lee were resigning and placed the blame squarely on the president’s rhetoric.

"We cannot sit on a council for a president who tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism," the statement said in part. "President Trump's remarks today repudiate his forced remarks yesterday about the KKK and neo-Nazis. We must resign on behalf of America's working people, who reject all notions of legitimacy of these bigoted groups."

Trump earlier Tuesday called the CEOs leaving the manufacturing council “grandstanders” and boasted that he had “many to take their place.”

Paul was the fourth business leader to announce his resignation, after the departures of Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier.

>> Related: Merck CEO quits Trump manufacturing council after Charlottesville

Frazier, who was the first to resign, wrote in a statement that he felt “a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”

Krzanich said he was resigning "to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues, including the serious need to address the decline of American manufacturing."

Plank said on Monday night that Under Armour "engages in innovation and sports, not politics.”

The resignations came after critics questioned Trump’s decision not to call out white supremacists in a statement condemning the violence that erupted Saturday. Police said Heather Heyer, 32, died after she was struck by a vehicle when a man, identified by police as 20-year-old Nazi sympathizer James Alex Fields Jr., slammed a car into protesters and two other vehicles.

In a second statement made on Monday, Trump condemned "the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups," who incite violence based on race.

>> Related: Trump condemns KKK, white supremacists days after deadly Charlottesville attack

Tesla CEO Elon Musk resigned from the manufacturing council in June, and two other advisory groups to the president, after the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. Walt Disney Co. Chairman and CEO Bob Iger resigned for the same reason from the President's Strategic and Policy Forum, which Trump established to advise him on how government policy impacts economic growth and job creation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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