The Latest: Trump disbands business panel as fallout spreads

August 17, 2017 GMT
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White House chief of staff John Kelly, left, watches as President Donald Trump speaks to the media in the lobby of Trump Tower, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017 in New York. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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White House chief of staff John Kelly, left, watches as President Donald Trump speaks to the media in the lobby of Trump Tower, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017 in New York. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times EDT):

9 p.m.

President Donald Trump has abruptly disbanded two of his White House business councils in the latest fallout from his combative comments on racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The decision comes as the White House tries to manage the repercussions from Trump’s defiant remarks a day earlier, in which he blamed the violence at a white supremacist rally on “both sides.”

Presidential advisers are hunkering down, offering no public defense while privately expressing frustration with his comments. Trump himself has stayed out of sight, though he traveled from New York to his golf club in New Jersey for the night.

Some Republicans and scores of Democrats have denounced Trump’s statements and called for an apology. Most of those Republicans, including congressional leaders, are not specifically criticizing the president.



1:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he’s ending a pair of White House advisory councils that were staffed by corporate chief executives.

CEOs have been resigning since Saturday, when Trump blamed both sides for the weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, between white supremacists and counterprotesters. The resignation accelerated after Trump on Tuesday again blamed “both sides.”

Trump says on Twitter that “rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!”


1:20 p.m.

The CEO of Campbell Soup is resigning from a White House jobs panel over comments about racism made by President Donald Trump.

Campbell CEO Denise Morrison said on Wednesday in a company release: “Racism and murder are unequivocally reprehensible and are not morally equivalent to anything else that happened in Charlottesville. I believe the president should have been — and still needs to be — unambiguous on that point.”

Trump suggested in remarks Tuesday that the white supremacists and counterprotesters were both blameworthy for violence that erupted this weekend in Virginia.

Morrison said the president’s comments triggered her resignation from the manufacturing jobs panel.

Morrison is the seventh person to resign from two major advisory panels this week following Trump’s comments.



12:30 p.m.

The chief executive of 3M is resigning from the president’s Manufacturing Jobs Initiative panel, saying it is no longer an effective forum for the company to advance its goals.

Inge Thulin’s (ING’-geh Too-LEEN’s) resignation is the sixth following President Donald Trump’s comments after the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In a statement, Thulin says: “Sustainability, diversity and inclusion are my personal values and also fundamental to the 3M Vision. The past few months have provided me with an opportunity to reflect upon my commitment to these values.”



Former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush say in a joint statement that “America must always reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism and hatred in all forms.”

Their comments come a day after President Donald Trump gave weight to the complaints of white nationalists by declaring at a press conference that counterprotesters shared the blame for violence that erupted last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Bushes, both Republicans, say that as they pray for Charlottesville, they’re reminded of “that city’s most prominent citizen in the Declaration of Independence: We are all created equal and endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights.”

They’re referring to Thomas Jefferson.



The White House says President Donald Trump and his national security team will discuss South Asia strategy on Friday.

The discussions are scheduled to be held at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland’s Catoctin Mountains.

Vice President Mike Pence, who is traveling in Latin America this week, is expected to attend.

Trump tweeted earlier Wednesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “made a very wise and well-reasoned decision.” Trump says “the alternative would have been both catastrophic and unacceptable!”

Both sides have since backed down after raising the specter of nuclear conflict in a series of combative threats after North Korea’s recent missile tests and threats against Guam, the U.S. territory in the Western Pacific. Trump had said further threats from Kim would be met with “fire and fury.”


11:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump has tweeted for the first time about Heather Heyer, the young woman who lost her life over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Trump says the 32-year-old Heyer was “beautiful and incredible” and a “truly special young woman.” He says “she will be long remembered by all!”

A memorial service is taking place Wednesday in Charlottesville for Heyer, who was killed Saturday during violent clashes between white supremacists and counterdemonstrators. Heyer had aligned with those protesting the white supremacists. She was killed when a car rammed into a crowd of people protesting the white nationalist rally.

Trump told reporters Tuesday that he planned to reach out to Heyer’s family. The White House did not respond to questions Wednesday about whether Trump has contacted Heyer’s family.


11:10 a.m.

A White House official says President Donald Trump’s longtime aide will serve temporarily as White House communications director.

The aide, Hope Hicks, will work with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to help set White House messaging strategy. Word of Hicks’ new role comes as the White House struggles to weather the fallout after Trump again blamed “both sides” for weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, between white supremacists and counter-demonstrators.

The official insisted on anonymity to discuss unannounced personnel matters.

The 28-year-old Hicks worked for the Trump Organization and was Trump’s spokeswoman during the presidential campaign. She’s considered one of the most important players in his inner circle. Her current White House title is director of strategic communications.

The official says a permanent communications director will be named later.

—Contributed by AP writer Darlene Superville.


9 a.m.

President Donald Trump plans to rally supporters in Phoenix next week.

Trump’s campaign announced the event Wednesday — a day after the president again blamed “both sides” for weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, between white supremacists and counter-demonstrators.

The campaign says the Aug. 22 rally will take place at the Phoenix Convention Center.

The president has been holding campaign-style events in Trump-friendly areas since he took office. Next week’s rally will be Trump’s first in the West.

Trump told Fox News in an interview this week that he may pardon Joe Arpaio (ahr-PY’-oh), the former Phoenix-area sheriff who recently was convicted in federal court.

A federal judge ruled in 2013 that Arpaio’s officers had racially profiled Latinos. Critics say a pardon would amount to an endorsement of racism.


7:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump is renewing his attacks on e-commerce giant Amazon, and he says the company is “doing great damage to tax paying retailers.”

Trump tweets that “towns, cities and states throughout the U.S. are being hurt - many jobs being lost!”

The president has often criticized the company and CEO Jeff Bezos (BAY’-zohs), who also owns The Washington Post.

Many traditional retailers are closing stores and blaming Amazon for a shift to buying goods online. But the company has been hiring thousands of warehouse workers on the spot at job fairs across the country. Amazon has announced goal of adding 100,000 full-time workers by the middle of next year


3:50 a.m.

President Donald Trump is blaming “both sides” for the violence between white supremacists and counterdemonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia, and he’s rebuffing the widespread criticism of his handling of the protests.

Trump spoke Tuesday in New York and showed sympathy for the fringe groups’ efforts to preserve Confederate monuments.

His words amounted to a rejection of the Republicans, business leaders and White House advisers who’d pushed the president to more forcefully and specifically condemn the KKK members, neo-Nazis and white supremacists who took to the streets of Charlottesville.