La Oferta

October 4, 2023

Trump faces growing backlash over comments about Charlottesville

Washington, Aug 16 (EFE).- The president of the United States dissolved two business adversary councils on Wednesday after several chief executive officers quit over his remarks about last weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Those same comments also have sparked condemnation from Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans, who accused him of drawing a moral equivalence between neo-Nazis and the leftist activists they clashed with on Saturday.

Trump disbanded the American Manufacturing Council, which had seen a gradual exodus of its members – including the CEOs of Intel, Merck, Under Armour and the president of the US’s largest labor federation, the AFL-CIO – since Monday, and the Strategic and Policy Forum, whose members decided to step down en masse on Wednesday.

CEO of Campbell Soup Company Denise Morrison (L) speaks beside CEO of United Technologies Corporation Greg Hayes (R) during a meeting hosted by US President Donald J. Trump (not pictured) with CEOs of manufacturing companies, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 23 February 2017 (reissued 16 August 2017). Campbell Soup CEO Denise Morrison on 16 August 2017 resigned from US President Trump’s manufacturing council in protest over Trump’s remarks to the violence in Charlottesville. EFE

“Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy (sic) & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!” Trump tweeted.

Fifteen members still remained on the manufacturing council, including the CEOs of Boeing, General Electric, Dow Chemical, Lockheed Martin and Johnson & Johnson.

Trump was broadly criticized for his remarks at a Tuesday press conference about the events in Charlottesville, where white supremacists had obtained permits for a Saturday rally to protest plans to remove a statue in that city of Gen. Robert E. Lee, the army commander of the pro-slavery Confederacy during the 1861-1865 American Civil War.

Although Virginia’s Democratic governor declared a state of emergency and canceled the rally before it was scheduled to begin, clashes broke out between protesters and counter-demonstrators.

The situation turned deadly Saturday afternoon when a suspected neo-Nazi plowed his car into a crowd at an intersection in Charlottesville, killing one female counter-protester and injuring more than a dozen other people.

On Tuesday, Trump grew irritated at journalists who pressed him to more vehemently denounce the far-right protesters and said leftist activists had also acted lawlessly.

Fotografía de archivo del 23 de febrero de 2017 que muestra a la directora ejecutiva de la empresa Campbell, Denise Morrison (2d), asiste al consejo organizado por presidente estadounidense, Donald Trump (c), sobre empresas manufactureras en la Casa Blanca, Washington (Estados Unidos). La directora ejecutiva de la empresa de Campbell, Denise Morrison, renunció hoy, 16 de agosto de 2017 al Consejo de Fabricantes estadounidenses creado por el presidente estadounidense, en protesta por sus recientes declaraciones sobre la violencia racial en Charlottesville. En la imagen también aparecen: de izq. a dcha.: los directores ejecutivos de General Dynamics, Phebe Novakovic; de Archer Daniels Midland, Juan Luciano; el yerno y asesor del presidente Jared Kushner; de Merck, Kenneth Frazie; de Ford, Mark Fields y de United Technologies, Greg Hayes. EFE

“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. You had a group – you had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit, and they were very, very violent,” the president said.

In his most controversial remarks, Trump spoke favorably of some of the people protesting the removal of the statue.

“Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch.”

Trump’s remarks have been criticized by several prominent members of his party, including Sens. John McCain and Marco Rubio; the speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan; and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“There are no good neo-Nazis, and those who espouse their views are not supporters of American ideals and freedoms. We all have a responsibility to stand against hate and violence, wherever it raises its evil head,” McConnell said.

Two former Republican presidents – George H. W. Bush and his son, George W. Bush – issued a statement shortly after Trump’s remarks.

“America must always reject racial bigotry, antisemitism and hatred in all its forms,” the Bushes said, without referring to white supremacists.