On June 1 Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Inc, SpaceX, The Boring Company, and a few other ventures announced that he was leaving both President Trump’s manufacturing council and the strategic & policy forum. Now, just over two months later, the council is being dismantled after executives from seven other companies have disassociated themselves from Trump and resigned from the President’s council.
The first member to leave one of Trump’s councils was former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. Kalanick left Trump’s strategic and policy forum on February 2, one and a half months after the council was assembled. Musk preferred to stay on the council and made it very clear that he was working to voice his opinions with the administration.
Many people negatively affected by this policy are strong supporters of the US. They've done right,not wrong & don't deserve to be rejected.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 29, 2017
But in late May, Musk made it clear that if Trump decided to leave the Paris Climate Accord, he would be leaving both of Trump’s advisory councils. Musk stuck to his word and left the councils within hours of Trump’s announcement to ditch the Paris Agreement. Trump claimed at the time that “We (the Trump administration) will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great.” Other world leaders denied that Trump had any leverage to alter the agreement.
Before Trump announced that the councils would be disbanded, several leaders rushed to exit the council after hearing Trump’s remarks on the tragic incidents that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia when white supremacist groups and neo-Nazis clashed with protestors, killing one and injuring dozens.
Trump’s remarks on the protests that erupted in Charlottesville caused many to disassociate themselves from President Trump. By Wednesday morning, seven more leaders had left Trump’s councils, despite the President’s last ditch attempt to keep the groups together by sending out an intimidating tweet Tuesday morning.
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
One of the first leaders to leave the council after Trumps remarks this weekend was Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier. Frazier released this statement on Sunday, “America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy.” Trump then lashed out with an unrelated subject by stating, “Merck Pharma is a leader in higher & higher drug prices while at the same time taking jobs out of the U.S. Bring jobs back & LOWER PRICES!”
Nearly 24 hours later, Trump had decided that he would be disbanding the council. It’s unclear how many members would have been left if Trump hadn’t ended it.
Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2017
One thing is very clear, Elon Musk’s action of disassociating himself from Trump long before things really got off the rails is a testament to the visionary’s foresight to de-risk while staying laser-focused on goals.
Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 1, 2017