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More Business Leaders Leave Trump's Manufacturing Council

President Trump, seen here boarding Air Force One on Monday, has new criticism for business leaders who are leaving his manufacturing council.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais
President Trump, seen here boarding Air Force One on Monday, has new criticism for business leaders who are leaving his manufacturing council.

Updated at 1 p.m. ET Aug. 16

More business leaders have added their names to the growing list of executives who have resigned from President Trump's manufacturing council, as members from Campbell Soup and 3M stepped down Wednesday.

3M President and CEO Inge Thulin said the decision to leave the group followed reflection on the values of "sustainability, diversity and inclusion."

Campbell Soup CEO Denise Morrison stated, "Racism and murder are unequivocally reprehensible and are not morally equivalent to anything else that happened in Charlottesville" — referring to Trump's much criticized response to the white supremacist rally that resulted in the death of a counterprotester over the weekend.

The moves came one day after the resignations of Scott Paul, the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing; Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO; and Thea Lee, the AFL-CIO's deputy chief of staff.

"I'm resigning from the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative because it's the right thing for me to do," Paul wrote in a tweet Tuesday morning.

Even before Paul posted about his resignation on Twitter, the president beat him to the tweet, writing some 15 minutes earlier, "For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should not have gone on. JOBS!"

On Tuesday afternoon, speaking about the violence in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend, Trump appeared to backtrack on his critical comments a day earlier about the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists. He said he believes "there's blame on both sides."

Shortly after, Trumka specifically cited Trump's comments in a statement saying that he and Lee "cannot sit on a council for a President who tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism" and they "must resign on behalf of America's working people, who reject all notion of legitimacy of these bigoted groups."

By departing, Paul, Trumka and Lee follow in the footsteps of three CEOs — Merck's Kenneth Frazier, Under Armour's Kevin Plank and Intel's Brian Krzanich — who resigned from the council on Monday following the president's heavily criticized handling of the deadly violence that erupted at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.

Frazier said in announcing his decision, "I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism."

Of his departure, Trump replied, "Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned ... he will have more time to lower ripoff drug prices!"

The council was formed back in January, when Trump launched the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative as part of his effort to create American jobs. At the time, the White House said the president would be "meeting with some of the world's most successful and creative business leaders to share their experiences and gain their insights."

Tesla founder Elon Musk left the manufacturing council and another presidential advisory group in June, citing his disagreement with Trump's decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord.

Here is the list of 28 business leaders the White House said were named to the council on Jan. 27 — we've used dashes to highlight the executives who have resigned:

Andrew Liveris, The Dow Chemical Co.

Bill Brown, Harris Corp.

Michael Dell, Dell Technologies

John Ferriola, Nucor Corp.

Jeff Fettig, Whirlpool Corp.

Mark Fields, Ford Motor Co. (now retired)

-- Kenneth Frazier, Merck & Co. Inc.

Alex Gorsky, Johnson & Johnson

Greg Hayes, United Technologies Corp.

Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin Corp.

Jeff Immelt, General Electric

Jim Kamsickas, Dana Inc.

Klaus Kleinfeld, Arconic (now retired)

-- Brian Krzanich, Intel Corp.

Rich Kyle, The Timken Co.

--Thea Lee, AFL-CIO

Mario Longhi, U.S. Steel (now retired)

-- Denise Morrison, Campbell Soup Co.

Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing

-- Elon Musk, Tesla

Doug Oberhelman, Caterpillar (now retired)

-- Scott Paul, Alliance for American Manufacturing

-- Kevin Plank, Under Armour

Michael Polk, Newell Brands

Mark Sutton, International Paper

-- Inge Thulin, 3M

-- Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO

Wendell Weeks, Corning

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Corrected: August 14, 2017 at 9:00 PM PDT
A previous version of this post incorrectly spelled Richard Trumka's last name as Tumka and Marillyn Hewson's first name as Marilynn.
Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
Merrit Kennedy is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers a broad range of issues, from the latest developments out of the Middle East to science research news.