Trump officially ends advisory councils after CEOs disband, quit groups

President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday he will officially dissolve two councils of top executive advisors, one for manufacturing and another for strategy and policy, Politico reported.

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

The announcement came after the Strategic and Policy Forum members decided on a conference call to disband, according to a The New York Times. In a statement, the group cited the "intolerance, racism and violence" seen over the past few days and the politicization of participation on the panel as reasons for its termination, according to the report. Members included Cleveland Clinic President and CEO Toby Cosgrove, MD, and IBM Chairwoman, President and CEO Ginni Rometty, among others.

The manufacturing group was also expected to have a call Wednesday, according to The New York Times. At least seven leaders had already dropped from this group as a direct result of President Trump's response to the violence at the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 12. Merck Chairman and CEO Kenneth Frazier stepped down from the Manufacturing Council Monday, and the CEOs of Under Armour, Intel, 3M, Campbell Soup, AFL-CIO and the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing followed suit. AFL-CIO's former Deputy Chief of Staff Thea Lee also announced Tuesday she was no longer part of the council, but she had left the company months ago, according to Politico. Tesla CEO Elon Musk left in June after President Trump left the Paris Agreement on climate change, and a handful of other leaders left due to job changes, according to the report.

Despite the many departures, not all CEOs had planned to leave their posts. Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Cosgrove remained committed to his post on the Strategic and Policy Forum as of Monday. Spokeswoman Eileen Sheil said, "Dr. Cosgrove believes that it's important to be able to provide input at the highest level of government on healthcare matters." Following the termination of the forum, Dr. Cosgrove posted the group's statement on LinkedIn and said he is still committed to improving healthcare.

Johnson & Johnson Chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky said Tuesday the company was "deeply saddened by the horrific events that occurred in Charlottesville," but he remained committed to engagement in healthcare policy through his participation on the manufacturing council. Mr. Gorsky changed his mind Wednesday due to President Trump's comments equating neo-Nazis with their counterprotesters, according to a statement.

Editor's note: The headline of this article was updated Aug. 17 at 4:45 p.m. CT to reflect that President Trump's announcement came after one of the councils had already decided to disband. 

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