Alex Gorsky of Johnston & Johnson, Michael Dell of Dell Technologies, Andrew Liveris of Dow Chemical Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Trump’s Corporate Lackeys

For many members of US President Donald Trump's economic councils, his weak response to this month's white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, was the last straw. But the camel’s back broke a long time ago.

LONDON – In mid-August, alt-right, neo-Nazi, and white supremacist groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia, for a demonstration that ended with a white supremacist driving a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring 19. President Donald Trump responded not by condemning the racist terror, but rather by blaming “many sides” for the violence. For many members of his manufacturing council and the Strategy and Policy Forum, it was the last straw. But the camel’s back actually broke a long time ago.

The first few council members who resigned were labeled “grandstanders” by Trump. But then a trickle of resignations became a wave, and Trump, apparently fearful of a full-scale revolt by the business leaders who were supposed to advise him, quickly dissolved the two economic councils, tweeting that he didn’t want to put pressure on their members.

Perhaps he need not have worried. Yes, some members of Trump’s business advisory bodies took a stand. But it was too little, too late. After all, as appalling as Trump’s response to the events in Charlottesville was, no one could credibly claim to have been shocked by it. On the contrary, from day one, there were clear signs that this administration was toxic. Even the councils themselves were little more than a tool for boosting Trump’s ego, by stoking his self-image as a businessman’s businessman.

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