Trump Disbands Advisory Councils As CEOs Flee; Pence Ends Foreign Trip Early

Update 3: According to the WSJ, Blackstone's Steve Schwarzman called Trump to tell him council was disbanding. Then Trump tweeted he was disbanding it.

One of the councils had planned to disband after a conference call of its executives on Wednesday morning, a person familiar with the matter said. Mr. Trump’s tweet came after reports that council was disbanding. Blackstone Group LP Chief Executive Stephen A. Schwarzman, who led the Strategic and Policy Forum, phoned the president on Wednesday to inform him the group was being disbanded, according to people familiar with the call.

 

After the call, which was described as cordial, the president tweeted that it was his decision to disband that council. In that tweet, he also announced he was disbanding the manufacturing-advisory council. A White House spokesman declined to comment.

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Update 2: Following its decision to disband, which took place even as two more CEOs from the mfg council - the chiefs of J&J and United Tech - were announcing their resignations. Trump's now defunct Strategy Council has just issued the following statement:

"As our members have expressed individually over the past several days, intolerance, racism and violence have absolutely no place in this country and are an affront to core American values. The President's Strategic and Policy Forum was conceived as a bi-partisan group of business leaders called to serve our country by providing independent feedback and perspectives directly to the President on accelerating economic growth and job creation in the United States. We believe the debate over Forum participation has become a distraction from our well-intentioned and sincere desire to aid vital policy discussions on how to improve the lives of everyday Americans. As such, the President and we are disbanding the Forum. Job creation and supporting an inclusive pro-growth agenda remain vitally important to the progress of our country. As Americans, we are all united in our desire to see our country succeed."

Meanwhile, as noted earlier, VP Pence will end his visit to South America early and fly home on Thursday, after the latest Trump scandal which led to the dissolution of two of his key economic advisory councils following the riots in Charlottesville, Va.

As AP reported previously, Pence will cut short his trip to South America, where he joined Chile President Michelle Bachelet for a joint press conference Wednesday on the political unrest in Venezuela.  The vice president defended Trump just days ago as Trump drew bipartisan criticism for his remarks following the violent events in Charlottesville, and may return in order to directly address critics and steady the administration after the dissolution of the American Manufacturing Council and Strategy and Policy Forum.

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Update 1: With the CEOs within the various administration councils deciding to leave en masse, President Trump has tweeted over the top to give the appearance that he decided to shut them down:

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

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As we detailed earlier, with CEOs dropping like flies from Trump's manufacturing councel, with 3M and Campbell Soup CEOs announcing they are out, CNBC reports that President Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum has agreed to disband.  The business advisory council is, or rather was, made up of top business leaders is separate from Trump's manufacturing council, which several business leaders left this week.

The Strategic and Policy Forum, led by Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman, featured, among others:

  • JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon
  • BlackRock's Larry Fink
  • Wal-Mart's Doug McMillon
  • IBM's Ginni Rometty

"The thinking was it was important to do as a group," a member told CNBC. "As a panel, not as individuals because it would have more significant impact. It makes a central point that it's not going to go forward. It's done."

Bloomberg confirms that Trump’s council of senior business leaders who advise on strategy and policy is disbanding, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The executive council, which is led by Blackstone Group LP’s Stephen Schwarzman, planned to inform the White House Wednesday before making the announcement public, according to the person, who wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

 

The strategy group is one of several the White House convened earlier this year to advise the president.

 

Several CEOs from a manufacturing council have quit this week, following blowback over Trump’s remarks about racially charged violence in Virginia on Saturday.

This follows the mass exodus of CEOs, most recently 3M and Campbell CEOs. Inge Thulin, the chairman and CEO of 3M , on Wednesday announced his resignation from President Donald Trump's manufacturing council.

"Sustainability, diversity and inclusion are my personal values and also fundamental to the 3M Vision. The past few months have provided me with an opportunity to reflect upon my commitment to these values," he said in a statement. "I joined the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative in January to advocate for policies that align with our values and encourage even stronger investment and job growth - in order to make the United States stronger, healthier and more prosperous for all people. After careful consideration, I believe the initiative is no longer an effective vehicle for 3M to advance these goals. As a result, today I am resigning from the Manufacturing Advisory Council. At 3M, we will continue to champion an environment that supports sustainability, diversity and inclusion. I am committed to building a company that improves lives in every corner of the world."

And Campbell Soup Company CEO left shortly after:

They join Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier, Under Armour's Kevin Plank, Intel's Brian Krzanich, Alliance for American Manufacturing president Scott Paul and AFL-CIO president Richard Trumpka in exiting the council, which is headed by Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris. Thea Lee, former deputy chief of staff of the AFL-CIO, said on Twitter she is quitting the council as well.

Tesla's Elon Musk and Disney's Bob Iger in June dropped out of a strategic and policy forum to the president following his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord. Since-ousted Uber CEO Travis Kalanick quit the council in February over employee backlash.

As a reminder, President Trump tweeted yesterday:

"For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should not have gone on. JOBS!"

That remains to be seen, meanwhile VP Pence just made statement confirming he will be returning early from his LatAm trip:

  • PENCE: WILL END TRIP A BIT EARLY AFTER PANAMA VISIT
  • PENCE SAYS HE'S RETURNING TO U.S. TOMORROW FROM LATIN AMERICA

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