The Trump administration is embroiled in one of its worst public relations problems yet, and the president’s personal Twitter feed over the last 24 hours isn’t helping matters.
The potential fallout from digging a deep hole deeper goes past embarrassment for the Republican party or elections, but has the ability to hurt his ability to organize with Congress and push his business-friendly agenda through. The aggressive rhetoric is likely to further hinder the administration’s goals of advancing ambitious tax-reform plans by splintering the Republican party, further alienating the Democratic party, and potentially driving more business leaders to distance themselves from the president.
On Saturday, President Trump equivocally denounced “many sides” following a deadly white supremacist and neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend. On Monday, facing bipartisan condemnation, the president eventually stated: “Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the K.K.K., neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”
The latest controversy has purged three CEOs from Trump’s manufacturing council with Merck CEO Kenneth C. Frazier leading the charge. Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and Intel CEO Brian Krzanich followed. Scott Paul, President of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, also dropped out.
I’m resigning from the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative because it’s the right thing for me to do.
— Scott Paul (@ScottPaulAAM) August 15, 2017
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff stood out from others by thanking Trump for his response on Monday.
Following Frazier’s resignation announcement, the President took to Twitter to lambast a pharmaceutical company CEO for high drug prices, although Trump’s own actions on this front have been essentially non-existent despite promising support for proposals to lower costs.
Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council,he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2017
Trump continued to fan the flames on Twitter, making a series of further gaffes that may dig his hole deeper by retweeting Jack Posobiec, an alt-right conspiracy theorist previously aligned with leading white nationalist Richard Spencer.
Trump also retweeted a meme showing a CNN reporter being hit by a train — evoking the moment on Saturday when a car barreling into a crowd of counter-protesters hit and killed a woman — as well as a tweet that called the president a fascist.
— Michael B Kelley (@MichaelBKelley) August 15, 2017
According to Axios, at least one other prominent CEO is on the fence of departing from the council. Axios’s Dan Primack noted that it’s likely this imbroglio will give other corporations pause in regards to working with Trump in the future.
Trump is not backing down, however, tweeting: “For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should not have gone on. JOBS!”
For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should not have gone on. JOBS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 15, 2017