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Howes: Trump did CEOs of GM, Dow, and Whirlpool a favor by disbanding advisory councils

Aug 17, 2017

The businessman president is losing big business.

Donald Trump's promise to turn to America's business leaders for advice and counsel has collapsed.

His refusal to lay complete blame for the weekend violence in Charlottesville led to a revolt by CEOs in his business advisory groups.

The president announced he would be disbanding the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy forum in a tweet on Wednesday.

But as Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes recalls, it was the CEOs who left Trump first.

“The CEOs were putting pressure on him, there’s no question about it,” Howes said.

Howes said both of the advisory councils were on conference calls earlier in the week, including a Tuesday night scramble to put together a call around 11 p.m.

Howes said that on Wednesday the members of the Strategy & Policy forum got together, including General Motors CEO Mary Barra and ultimately decided to “disband and condemn” after the President’s statements related to violence at the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA. Barra was not among the CEOs who immediately resigned from the presidential council’s after Trump’s comments regarding events in Charlottesville.

Howes said losing the support of business leaders is bad for the president after a failing to pass healthcare reform legislation and insiders in Washington who say tax reform will also be difficult to pull off.

“This is going to be one of the greatest situations of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory politically that we’ve seen in modern times,” Howes said. “And I think it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better.”

Howes points out what he sees as irony, that the disbanding of the presidential advisory councils took place on the day the U.S. began talks with Mexico and Canada on the future renegotiation of NAFTA. The Auto industry has received much attention from the President, and renegotiating NAFTA is an important issue specifically to American automakers.   

Listen to the entire conversation with Daniel Howes, Detroit News business columnist, above.

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