Who Is Scott Paul? He Resigned From Trump's Council In Protest
Being associated with President Trump is not something business leaders are willing to risk, if recent events are any indication. On Tuesday the president of the Alliance of American Manufacturing, Scott Paul, resigned from Trump's manufacturing council, making him the fourth to do so since Monday. In total, five members — the first being Tesla CEO Elon Musk who left in February — have resigned from the president's council.
"I'm resigning from the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative because it's the right thing for me to do," Paul announced in a tweet. His tweet came minutes after the president hit back at the three CEOs who'd already quit the council.
"For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place," Trump said in a tweet. "Grandstanders should not have gone on. JOBS!"
The lengthening list of resignations is a response to President Trump's widely criticized handling of the tragedy in Charlottesville, where three people died on Saturday during a white supremacist rally. Trump's initial statement — in which he condemned violence from "many sides" — addressing the situation failed to explicitly denounce white nationalists and hate groups, and was interpreted by many, including self-proclaimed white nationalists, as attributing blame to the counter-protesters who showed up in Charlottesville to oppose the rally.
Trump reluctantly buckled under political pressure and denounced white supremacists, the KKK, and other white nationalist groups in a second statement on Monday, but the response was seen by many as being disingenuous and coming to late.
Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier, the only black member of the manufacturing council, became the first to resign on Monday. "America's leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry, and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal," Frazier said in a statement. He added, "As CEO of Merck, and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism."
Trump quickly attacked Frazier on Twitter following the CEO's decision: "Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President's Manufacturing Council,he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!"
Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank followed Frazier's lead. "I joined the American Manufacturing Council because I believed it was important for Under Armour to have an active seat at the table and represent our industry," he said in a statement. "We remain resolute in our potential and ability to improve American manufacturing. However, Under Armour engages in innovation and sports, not politics. I am appreciative of the opportunity to have served, but have decided to step down from the council."
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich joined the other two business leaders. "I resigned to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues, including the serious need to address the decline of American manufacturing," he said. "Politics and political agendas have sidelined the important mission of rebuilding America’s manufacturing base."
Krzanich added that "those who have stood up for equality and other cherished American values" should be honored rather than attacked and left the door open for returning to the council, should the president stand up for such people.
So far, Kenneth Frazier is the only former council member to be directly targeted by President Trump.