Trump disbands business advisory councils after CEOs resign in protest over Charlottesville remarks

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump said Wednesday he is ending two jobs councils after several resignations by executives in the wake of his response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The statement came amid reports that the Strategic and Policy Forum, which consists of several top business leaders, had agreed to disband.

The manufacturing council has seen multiple resignations since Trump’s weekend comments.

Two more business leaders announced their departure from the group on Wednesday before Trump announced he was ending the councils.

"Racism and murder are unequivocally reprehensible and are not morally equivalent to anything else that happened in Charlottesville," Campbell Soup CEO Denise Morrison said in resigning.

"I believe the President should have been -- and still needs to be -- unambiguous on that point."

 The company had said just two days earlier said she would stay in the council.

Less than an hour earlier, Inge Thulin, the chief executive of 3M, quit the manufacturing council.

"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," Thulin said in a statement.

"After careful consideration, I believe the initiative is no longer an effective vehicle for 3M to advance these goals."

They follow the CEOs of Merck, Under Armour and Intel, two leaders of the AFL-CIO and the president of a manufacturing industry group.

Grass-roots organizations were pressuring other CEOs to follow them out the door.

The AFL-CIO officials quit the council late Tuesday after a news conference in which the president said "very fine people" were mixed in with neo-Nazis in Charlottesville.

"I cannot sit on a council for a president that tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism," said Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO.

Trump set up the council in January to hear their advice on revitalizing American manufacturing, a focus of his campaign.