CEO Resignations from Trump Council: “Triumph of Politics Over Policy”

They claim it’s not politics, but it certainly reeks of corporate America bowing to the will of the anti-Trump resistance movement.  That’s unfortunately not unusual these days.

It started with Merck’s Kenneth Frazier, and now includes the CEOs of Intel and Under Armour and the head of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.  Did these business leaders resign from the White House’s American Manufacturing Council because of a disagreement with President Trump over strategy to put the American economy back on track?  Hardly.  Economic indicators have improved quite well since the inauguration.  These business leaders quit because they said they didn’t like his handling of the events in Charlottesville last weekend.

Frazier said his decision was “to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”  Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank said his company “engages in innovation and sports, not politics.”  Intel’s Brian Krzanich said he did it “to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues.”  Scott Paul of the AAM trade association simply called it “the right thing for me to do.”

But, despite their excuses, how can the defections of these corporate chieftains not be seen as anything other than a political move?  It’s not like President Trump specifically addressed Charlottesville in an offensive manner at one of the Council’s meetings.  And, while Frazier resigned early Monday, the rest decided to quit after President Trump called out white nationalists in no uncertain terms:

To anyone who acted criminally in this weekend’s racist violence, you will be held fully accountable.  Justice will be delivered.  As I said on Saturday, we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence.  It has no place in America…  Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.

The fact of the matter is that CEOs engaging with the Trump Administration have long been under fire from the left.  At shareholder meetings this year, the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project (FEP) encouraged the leadership of Pepsi and Harley-Davidson, among others, to continue working with the White House to develop and help to promote policies that might create jobs and spur economic growth.  They were encouraged not to buckle to leftist demands that they shun partnering with the government.

Horace Cooper, a member of the National Center’s board of directors and a co-chairman of the Project 21 black leadership network who also represented FEP at shareholder meetings, is calling out these CEOs for the obvious political nature of their resignations:

The decision by Kenneth Frazier and the others to resign from the White House’s American Manufacturing Council represents the triumph of politics over policy.  It is very disappointing when our nation’s corporate leaders have been given an opportunity to work with the federal government to encourage innovation and investment but instead appear more interested in political correctness.

These corporate executives represent the livelihoods of millions of Americans.  Their selfish decision to effectively become Antifa warriors means that the important issues of deregulation and tax reform – critical to job growth and improving household budgets – will be pushed to the back of the bus.

CEOs are hired to improve and expand their companies’ value and to provide needed services and products to consumers.  Federal policy is critical to that effort.  Abandoning this rare opportunity to work directly with the White House in order to pursue left-wing politics harms not only the corporations, but also the Americans – black, white and brown – who work for them and rely upon their products and services.

National Center General Counsel and FEP Director Justin Danhof, Esq. has confronted Frazier at four Merck shareholder meetings, discussing issues such as the company’s steadfast support for ObamaCare and drug pricing.  In 2017, FEP attended 19 corporate shareholder meetings on a myriad of topics including working with the Trump Administration on health care policy, transparency and media bias.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.