(Reuters) - Four business leaders have resigned this week from U.S. President Donald Trump's American Manufacturing Council to protest the president's tepid comments to weekend violence at a rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka became the latest to resign on Tuesday after Trump blamed both sides for the violence that left one woman dead and several others injured.
Merck & Co Inc's Kenneth Frazier, who is African-American, was the first CEO to leave one of Trump's presidential advisory councils and was followed by the chief executives of Intel Corp and Under Armour Inc.
Trump on Monday denounced white supremacists, including neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan, as "criminals and thugs," bowing to days of mounting political pressure to condemn such groups explicitly. However, on Tuesday he reverted to his earlier comments blaming "many sides" for the violence.
The following are responses from companies and CEOs on Trump's manufacturing council to the violence in Virginia:
- Dow Chemical Co
"I condemn the violence this weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia," Chief Executive Andrew Liveris said in a statement.
- Dell Inc [DI.UL]
"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.
CEO Michael Dell plans to remain on the manufacturing council.
- General Electric Co
Jeff Immelt will remain on the council while he is the chairman of the company.
"GE has no tolerance for hate, bigotry or racism, and we strongly condemn the violent extremism in Charlottesville over the weekend," a company spokesperson said.
- Intel Corp
"There should be no hesitation in condemning hate speech or white supremacy by name. #Intel asks all our countries leadership to do the same," CEO Brian Krzanich said in a tweet. He later said in a blog post on Intel website that he was exiting the council "to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues."
- Under Armour Inc
"We are saddened by #Charlottesville. There is no place for racism or discrimination in this world. We choose love & unity," CEO Kevin Plank, who also left the council, said in a tweet from the company's Twitter account.
- Whirlpool Corp
Whirlpool will stay on the council.
"Whirlpool Corp believes strongly in an open and inclusive culture that respects people of all races and backgrounds. Our company has long fostered an environment of acceptance and tolerance in the workplace," a company spokeswoman said.
- Campbell Soup Co
Chief Executive Denise Morrison will remain on the council.
"The reprehensible scenes of bigotry and hatred on display in Charlottesville over the weekend have no place in our society. Not simply because of the violence, but because the racist ideology at the center of the protests is wrong and must be condemned in no uncertain terms," a company spokesman said in a statement.
- American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka will resign from President Trump's Council on Manufacturing, effective immediately
"I cannot sit on a council for a president that tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism," Trumka said.
- Wal-Mart Stores Inc
"Representing a company with the largest and one of the most diverse groups of associates in the U.S., and an even more diverse customer base of tens of millions of customers, we believe we should stay engaged to try to influence decisions in a positive way and help bring people together," Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon said.
- Johnson & Johnson
"In the end, I have concluded that Johnson & Johnson has a responsibility to remain engaged, not as a way to support any specific political agenda, but as a way to represent the values of Our Credo as crucial public policy is discussed and developed," Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky said in a statement.
- International Paper Co
"International Paper strongly condemns the violence that took place in Charlottesville over the weekend - there is no place for hatred, bigotry and racism in our society," a company spokesman said in a statement.
- Boeing Co
Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg will stay on the manufacturing council.
- U.S. Steel Corp
A spokesperson referred queries related to the American Manufacturing Council back to the White House.
(Reporting by Sophia Kunthara in New York and Natalie Grover, Yashaswini Swamynathan, Uday Sampath Kumar, Rachit Vats and Rama Venkat Raman in Bangalore; editing by Amrutha Gayathri and Lisa Shumaker)