Another one bites the dust on President Trump’s American Manufacturing Council after Trump said on Tuesday “both sides” were to blame for violence at white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) president Richard Trumka is the latest of multiple business leaders to resign from the council.
“We cannot sit on a council for a president who tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism,” Trumka said in a statement Tuesday after the president gave an off-the-rails press conference at Trump Tower in New York. “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 legitimacy of these bigoted groups.”
Trumka continued: “It’s clear that President Trump’s Manufacturing Council was never an affective means for delivery real policy that lifts working families and his remarks today were the last straw.”
“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,” the statement went on. “From hollow councils to bad policy and embracing bigotry, the actions of this administration have consistently failed working people.”
— Devon Heinen (@DevonHeinen) August 15, 2017
The AFL-CIO is a voluntary federation of 55 national and international labor unions represents 12.5 working men and women.
Trumka is not the first to resign from the Manufacturing Council. Alliance for American Manufacturing’s president Scott Paul, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich and Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank have also resigned in the wake of Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville at the hand of white supremacists.
President Trump defended his initial response Saturday to the violent white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville by repeating his statement on Tuesday that there was blame on “many sides” and even coining a new term: “alt-left.”
“What about the alt-left that came charging at, as you say, the alt-right. Do they have any semblance of guilt?” Trump said to a reporter on Tuesday after asking her to define the term “alt-right” for him. He dug into his point, saying the counter-protesters came “charging” at the white supremacist groups “with clubs in their hands.”
“I watched those [rallies more] closely than you people watched it. You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent and nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now,” Trump continued.
When another reporter asked Trump if the “alt-left” is the same as neo-Nazis, he responded: “All of those people — excuse me, I’ve condemned neo-Nazis, I’ve condemned many different groups — but not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue of Robert E. Lee.”
While Trump reiterated his condemnation of neo-Nazis, which he shared in a Monday statement after being widely criticized for not doing up until that point, his placing blame for the weekend violence on “many sides” on Tuesday seemed to backpedal his stance significantly to his initial Saturday statement.