Trump scraps business forums after CEOs resign in protest

Mary Barra No Longer Working With Trump as Advisory Council Ends

Trump's business advisory councils disbanded after resignations from Campbell and 3M bosses heap on pressure

Trump set up the manufacturing council in January to get advice from business leaders about revitalizing manufacturing - a major focus of his campaign.

The dissolution was a pre-emptive move by the embattled president as members of the two council were already debating their continued membership in the wake of the outrage that has trailed Mr Trump for equating white supremacists hate groups with protesters opposing them.

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

The strategy forum said in a statement: "We believe the debate over forum participation has become a distraction from our well-intentioned and honest desire to aid vital policy discussions on how to improve the lives of everyday Americans".

On Monday, Trump said, "Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President's Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!"

Before it was disbanded, The Wall Street Journalreported the leaders of 3M, General Electric, United Technologies and Campbell Soup all elected to quit the White House council on manufacturing.

In a statement Wednesday, members of the Strategic and Policy Forum said that "intolerance, racism and violence have absolutely no place in this country and are an affront to core American values".

The council is led by two longtime friends of Trump who stand to benefit greatly from their newfound proximity to the White House: Steven Roth, the CEO of Vornado Realty Trust, who co-owned a NY department store with Trump in the 1980s, and Richard LeFrak, a billionaire NY real estate developer.

They backed out of the council following Trump's comments about Saturday's violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. He blasted Frazier less than an hour after the CEO quit the council.

Trump's decision to wind down the two groups came despite his defiant tone about the recent resignations earlier this week, as criticism swirled around his comment that "many sides" were at fault in Charlottesville.

"I strongly disagree with President Trump's reaction to the events that took place in Charlottesville over the past several days", Dimon said. The White House was then phoned and Trump agreed that it was the right course of action, according to four people familiar with the talks who insisted on anonymity to discuss private conversations. Still, it was clear that Trump's remarks on Tuesday at Trump Tower was a breaking point. Only by acting together and having those panels disbanded would they be able to avoid harsher scrutiny not just from the public but also from a president with a track record of blasting individual companies that cross him on Twitter.

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