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Trump Says `Thank You!' as CEOs Quit Him After Virginia Remarks


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Only a day after Donald Trump labeled the growing number of CEOs quitting his business council “grandstanders” who, in some cases, were hurting ordinary Americans, the president tweeted that he would abolish the advisory groups rather than put pressure on executives to stay.

“Thank you all!” Trump tweeted Wednesday afternoon.


Trump speaks in New York on Aug. 15

Photographer: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

His announcement came within an hour of reports that one of the groups -- a forum of top finance and business executives -- was planning to disband. It appeared to be an effort by Trump to get ahead of the business leaders who were abandoning him following his remarks the day before at a New York City press conference.

It’s a stunning rebuke for the first CEO president, who pitched himself as a savvy businessman who would slash taxes and regulations to unleash growth by U.S. companies. Markets largely ignored the move, however, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up less than 1 percent as of 3:24 p.m.

At a press conference Tuesday, Trump said he would replace those who quit his council of manufacturing executives. He bid good riddance to one CEO -- Merck & Co.’s Kenneth Frazier -- who was first to resign. He then went on to talk about race relations and the violence in Virginia, placing partial blame on demonstrators protesting a gathering of white supremacists in Charlottesville. A woman was killed during the event after a man rammed a car into a crowd.

The evening after Trump’s comments, members of the strategy and policy forum -- led by Blackstone Group LP’s Stephen Schwarzman -- began to waver. BlackRock Inc. CEO Larry Fink called some of his firm’s clients and said he planned to resign from the forum, according to a person familiar with the matter. The next morning, he told Schwarzman he was out.


Big business bails.

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