Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has announced that he is leaving the American Manufacturing Council in the wake of U.S. president Donald Trump’s delayed condemnation of a white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Va. on Saturday.
In a statement posted to Intel’s blog on Monday, Krzanich made it clear that his decision was political:
“I resigned to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues, including the serious need to address the decline of American manufacturing,” he wrote. “Politics and political agendas have sidelined the important mission of rebuilding America’s manufacturing base.”
In a widely criticised statement on Saturday, Trump condemned “in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides,” repeating the latter phrase for emphasis and adding that “it’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump. Not Barack Obama. It’s been going on for a long, long time.”
As more than one political writer pointed out, Trump enjoys widespread support from white supremacists, with former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke calling Saturday’s protests a “turning point” when speaking with reporters in Charlottesville on Saturday, adding that “we are determined to take our country back,” and “fulfill the promises of Donald Trump.”
“That’s what we believed in. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back,” Duke said.
Trump eventually denounced neo-Nazis and the KKK as criminals and thugs on Monday.
Krzanich is far from the first CEO to resign from one of Trump’s councils, and not even the most recent – Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank announced Monday evening that he would be leaving the Manufacturing Council as well, though unlike Krzanich, Plank’s statement did not mention Trump or Charlottesville.
“I have already made clear my abhorrence at the recent hate-spawned violence in Charlottesville, and earlier today I called on all leaders to condemn the white supremacists and their ilk who marched and committed violence,” Krzanich’s statement read. “I resigned because I want to make progress, while many in Washington seem more concerned with attacking anyone who disagrees with them. We should honor – not attack – those who have stood up for equality and other cherished American values. I hope this will change, and I remain willing to serve when it does.”
Other CEOs who have left Trump’s councils include Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who left both the Manufacturing Council and Business Advisory Council after Trump announced that the U.S. would be pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords, and Ford’s Mark Fields.
Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 1, 2017
As for Krzanich, in his statement he admitted that he is not a politician, but an engineer who has spent most of his career working in factories that manufacture the world’s most advanced devices.
“Yet, it is clear even to me that nearly every issue is now politicized to the point where significant progress is impossible,” he said. “Promoting American manufacturing should not be a political issue.
“My request—my plea—to everyone involved in our political system is this: set scoring political points aside and focus on what is best for the nation as a whole,” he continued. “The current environment must change, or else our nation will become a shadow of what it once was and what it still can and should be.”