The latest political firestorm surrounding the Trump presidency involves the aftermath of the rioting and act of domestic terrorism that occurred in Charlottesville Virginia this weekend, pitting white supremacists against counter-protesters.
Trump’s responses to the incident, including yesterday’s press conference is described by multiple U.S. media outlets as “Trump Unhinged.” In-essence, blaming both sides for rioting and not presenting the moral outrage expected from the leader of the free world is seen as untenable.
The President indicated today that he has decided to disband both the President’s American Manufacturing Council and the President’s Strategy and Policy Forum.
Taking to Twitter, the president tweeted:
“Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!”
Eight members of the American Manufacturing Council had already walked away in the wake of Trump’s repeated avowal that violence in Charlottesville was perpetrated by both sides. This council was formed to advise the President of U.S. manufacturing policies regarding global competitiveness as well as expanding American jobs in manufacturing and associated supply chains. The Council was a direct conduit and sounding board to the Administration’s efforts to enhance U.S. manufacturing competitiveness and to expand jobs in manufacturing.
The first to resign was Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier. Frazier indicated in a tweet:
“As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism”
Other CEOs of several major corporations, policy and organized labor added to the resignations. Subsequent CEO resignations included:
Alliance for American Manufacturing
Johnson and Johnson
Manufacturing Council members who elected to remain, each issued strong statements condemning hatred, racism, and bigotry. However, as of today, their continued role is moot. The listing of what was to be remaining Manufacturing Council members had included:
The second advisory group disbanded, the Strategic and Policy Forum, was led by Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman. It included some of the biggest players in finance and business and was formed to advise the President on key strategic issues to include corporate tax reform. Among manufacturing and retail companies were the leaders of Boeing, General Motors, PepsiCo, and Wal-Mart.
On business network CNBC this afternoon, a program host shared a direct CEO quote:
“There is such a firestorm, you don’t know what’s coming next, what he’s (The President) going to say or do next.”
A noted and distinguished management professor from Princeton University indicated that conversations he had with CEO’s all reflected immediate consultations with respective Board members to ascertain whether Presidential ties or advisory efforts would be in the best interests of each of these companies.
At this point, policy regarding U.S. manufacturing expansion, corporate tax or global trade reform are solely the purview of the President, his Cabinet members, and key advisors. The voice of counsel and the reality checks of business leaders are now removed at a time when important business and trade initiatives such as NAFTA re-negotiation and initiatives to add more investments in U.S. manufacturing, supply chain and transportation support infrastructure are all percolating.
We indeed are experiencing a period of political turmoil and high uncertainty.
Industry supply chain teams need to continue to deal with the near and long-term challenges presented in their business settings. To believe that the this week’s events are not related to any industry supply chain mission would be very shortsighted.
High uncertainty is the new normal and businesses and associated supply chains of all forms need to be ready to plan, anticipate and deal with the effects.
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