3M CEO Thulin Joins Exodus From Trump Manufacturing Council

Updated on
  • Exit follows departures of Merck, Intel, Under Armour bosses
  • President under fire for response to violence in Virginia

Trump, CEOs, and a New Era of Corporate Politics

3M Co. Chief Executive Officer Inge Thulin stepped down from the White House’s manufacturing council, adding to the corporate exodus as the backlash grows to President Donald Trump’s ambivalent response to racially-charged violence in Virginia over the weekend.

Thulin joined the White House panel in January “to advocate for policies that align with our values and encourage even stronger investment and job growth -- in order to make the United States stronger, healthier and more prosperous,” the CEO said Wednesday in a statement tweeted by 3M. “After careful consideration, I believe the initiative is no longer an effective vehicle for 3M to advance these goals.”

The move adds another high-profile name to a growing list of business leaders backing away from Trump. Merck & Co.’s Kenneth Frazier, one of the country’s most prominent black CEOs, was the first to quit the manufacturing council, followed by bosses from companies such as Under Armour Inc. and Intel Corp.

The controversy emerged over the weekend after Trump initially blamed “many sides” for a deadly clash in Charlottesville, Virginia, seemingly equating the actions of white supremacists and neo-Nazis with those gathered for a counter-protest. One woman died after a participant rammed a group of counter-protesters with a vehicle, and at least 19 others were injured.

While Trump on Monday condemned white supremacists, he returned to his initial position at a press conference Tuesday, saying there was “blame on both sides” for the violence.

Thulin, who didn’t address Trump by name in the statement, said St. Paul, Minnesota-based 3M, widely known for office supplies such as Post-it notes, “will continue to champion an environment that supports sustainability, diversity and inclusion.”

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