WASHINGTON — Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, and the former deputy chief of staff of the union, Thea Lee, resigned from President Donald Trump’s council on manufacturing, making them to latest to quit the advisory body in light of the furor over Trump’s response to the Charlottesville violence.
“We cannot sit on a council for a President who tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism,” Trumka and Lee said in a statement. “President Trump’s remarks today repudiate his forced remarks yesterday about the KKK and neo-Nazis. We must resign on behalf of America’s working people, who reject all notions of legitimacy of these bigoted groups.”
Trump again pinned the blame for the violence on “both sides,” an equivalence that has ignited criticism, even from some Republicans.
Trumka and Lee join the CEOs of Intel, Under Armour, and Merck, who resigned from the council previously. The president of the Alliance of American Manufacturing also quit.
Trump called the CEOs who departed “grandstanders,” and in his Q&A with reporters on Tuesday, said that “some of the folks that will leave, they’re leaving out of embarrassment because they make their products outside and I’ve been lecturing them.”
But Trumka and Lee also criticized Trump’s council as ineffective, and said that they made their decision after the president’s latest remarks on the Charlottesville violence. Trump again said that “both sides” are responsible for the unrest.
“It’s clear that President Trump’s Manufacturing Council was never an effective means for delivering real policy that lifts working families and his remarks today were the last straw,” Trumka and Lee said. “We joined this council with the intent to be a voice for working people and real hope that it would result in positive economic policy, but it has become yet another broken promise on the President’s record. From hollow councils to bad policy and embracing bigotry, the actions of this administration have consistently failed working people.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the CEO of Walmart CEO Doug McMillon issued a statement in which he said that Trump “missed a critical opportunity” to bring the country together. He did not resign from the council.