Published: Fri, August 18, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich quits Trump council over muted Charlottesville response

Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank is distancing himself from the president by giving up his seat on the White House's American Manufacturing Council.

Trump suggested in remarks Tuesday that the white supremacists and counter-protesters both blameworthy for violence that erupted this weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Mr Trump later declared racism "evil" and said the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups were "repugnant" in a new statement issued two days after the bloody rally.

Intel boss Brian Krzanich has become the latest executive to resign from a Donald Trump advisory council.

On the other hand, CEOs who choose to remain on the manufacturing council can continue to pursue policy goals (such as corporate tax cuts, immigration and health care reform) to benefit corporate America and their own particular industry.

First it was the leader of a major US pharmaceutical, then the CEO of an athletic gear company, and before the day had ended, the chief executive of a $170 billion tech giant.

In February, former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was the first to quit Trump's business advisory council amid intense backlash after Trump first announced a travel ban that applied to people from mostly Muslim-majority countries.

Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier, left, in happier times with US President Donald Trump.

Drugmakers have come under withering criticism for soaring prices in the US, including by Trump, though he has yet to act on a promise to contain them. "Hate and intolerance are a betrayal of what we stand for as Americans", said Pepsi chief executive Indra Nooyi, in a statement that did not address the Trump panel.

President Trump spoke out for the first time on the departure of not only Plank but other CEO's as well.

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein tweeted: "Lincoln: 'A house divided against itself can not stand.' Isolate those who try to separate us".

According to CNBC, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka also chose to resign, following Trump's freaky exchange with reporters today.

So, as a person in a position of power who engages in politics, how is Mr. Plank's failure to condemn white supremacy any different from Mr. Trump's failure to do the same?

Trump formed the manufacturing council a week after his inauguration as part of a push to create jobs.

Jon Krosnick, a political science professor at Stanford University, said many company heads know that some presidential invites to boards are "really more for show than substance".

Trump on Saturday initially denounced what he called "this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides".

"There's no change in Dell engaging with the Trump administration and governments around the world to share our perspective on policy issues that affect our company, our customers and our employees", a Dell Inc spokeswoman said in a statement. "He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together".

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