Richard Trumka, president of the influential union AFL-CIO, said he can no longer serve on President Donald Trump’s American Manufacturing Council with a president who “tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism.”
“President Trump’s remarks today repudiate his forced remarks yesterday about the KKK and neo-Nazis,” Trumka said in a statement posted to Twitter. “We must resign on behalf of America’s working people, who reject notions of legitimacy of these bigoted groups.”
Thea Lee, former deputy chief of staff at the AFL-CIO, also departed the council with Trumka.
Trump returned to blaming “both sides,” apparently meaning white supremacist and radical leftist groups, for the violence Saturday in Charlottesville, Va., which left one woman dead from an attack by a car allegedly driven by a white supremacist. (RELATED: Trump: What About The Alt-Left?)
“What about the alt-left that came charging at, as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?” Trump said at a Tuesday press conference.
“What about the fact they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs. Do they have any problem?” he said. “I think they do.”
Trumka also stated that the council was never going to bring lasting policy changes to improve life for American workers.
“It’s clear that President Trump’s Manufacturing Council was never an effective means for delivering real policy that lifts working families and his remarks today were the last straw,” Trumka said.
“We joined this council with the intent to be a voice for working people and real hope that it would result in positive economic policy, but it has become yet another broken promise on the President’s record. From hollow councils to bad policy and embracing bigotry, the actions of this administration have are [sic] consistently failed working people.”
Trumka and Lee mark the fourth and fifth leaders to exit the council in the wake of Trump’s response to the Charlottesville protests and counter-protests.
Seventeen of the 28 original business leaders on the council remain. Some left the council because they left their corporate positions. Tesla CEO Elon Musk left June 1 after Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris agreement on climate change.
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