Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, said in a statement he is leaving President Donald Trump’s manufacturing council due to the president’s response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend.
The AFL-CIO is the largest collection of labour unions in the US with more than 12 million members.
“We cannot sit on a council for a President who tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism,” Trumka said in a statement. “President Trump’s remarks today repudiate his forced remarks yesterday about the KKK and neo-Nazis. We must resign on behalf of America’s working people, who reject all notions of legitimacy of these bigoted groups.”
After coming under fire for not condemning white nationalists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville on Saturday — and only doing so after public pressure on Monday — he then blamed what he termed “alt-left” counter-protestors for the violence during a press conference on Tuesday.
Trumka becomes the fifth member of the manufacturing council to depart following Charlottesville following Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, and President of the Alliance for American Manufacturing Scott Paul.
Trumka and the AFL-CIO previously said on Monday night that they were “reassessing” their involvement in the council. Former AFL-CIO deputy chief of staff Thea Lee is also leaving the council, she left the AFL-CIO a few months ago.
Here is Trumka’s full statement:
“We cannot sit on a council for a President who tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism. President Trump’s remarks today repudiate his forced remarks yesterday about the KKK and neo-Nazis. We must resign on behalf of America’s working people, who reject all notions of legitimacy of these bigoted groups.
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. 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 consistently failed working people.”