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AFL-CIO leader bashes Trump’s ‘totally ineffective’ business council after leaving it

President Trump’s manufacturing council wasn’t getting much work done, AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka said Wednesday on “CBS This Morning.”

After the AFL-CIO leader left the president’s manufacturing council following Trump’s highly criticized response to the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va., Trumka slammed the council’s lack of productivity.

“The council itself was totally ineffective. It’s never met,” Trumka said. “It’s a subterfuge to be able to deregulate industry.”

Trump disbanded the council Wednesday afternoon following the resignations of several business leaders, writing on Twitter, “Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!”

Trumka said that the council’s inefficiency wasn’t behind his resignation, which was inspired by what he called the president’s “spirited defense of racism and bigotry” following the violent rally in Charlottesville, Va.

After Trump was widely criticized for failing to condemn in his initial remarks the white supremacists and neo-Nazis involved in the violent clashes, he denounced white nationalism and racism on Monday. But at a Tuesday press conference, Trump reiterated his earlier remarks, blaming “both sides” for the violence.

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka speaks at the National Press Club in Washington on April 4, 2017. (Photo: Alex Brandon/AP)

AFL-CIO deputy chief of staff Thea Lea resigned with Trumka Tuesday night. Trumka and Lea represent the largest group of labor unions in the U.S.

“It’s not acceptable to even tolerate racism and bigotry, let alone defend it,” Trumka said.

Before Trump disbanded the manufacturing council, at least six other business leaders had left Trump’s council over the past few days. Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, 3M CEO Inge Thulin and Campbell Soup Company CEO Denise Morrison all quit the council after Trump made his remarks about Charlottesville.

After Trumka heard the president’s “shocking” Tuesday comments, he said: “I thought to myself, ‘I’ll pray for you, [Trump], because you really need to be prayed for when you make those kind of statements.’”

Earlier Tuesday, Trump had lashed out on Twitter at the leaders who had left the council.

“For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should not have gone on. JOBS!” Trump wrote.

Update [8/16/17]: This story has been updated to reflect news that Trump disbanded the manufacturing council.

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