Trump disbands White House business councils as CEOs flee

Michael Isikoff
Chief Investigative Correspondent

As CEOs of major corporations began fleeing President Trump’s two business advisory councils yesterday to protest his remarks on the neo-Nazi violence in Virginia, Trump disbanded both groups.

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

A few minutes earlier, the 16 remaining members of the Strategic and Policy Forum had unanimously voted to disband in an emergency conference call convened by its chairman, Stephen Schwarzman, chairman and CEO of the investment firm Blackstone Group and one of Trump’s biggest Wall Street supporters. The call was demanded by members of the group who were deeply upset about Trump’s comments at a Tuesday press conference about Charlottesville. Of the 19 business leaders who were originally named to the group, three had already quit because of Trump’s positions on climate change or immigration.

At least six of the 28 members of the American Manufacturing Council had quit in the days since Trump blamed “many sides” for the deadly violence that erupted in the wake of a “Unite the Right” march that enlisted neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups.