Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said Monday he is resigning from President Donald Trump's American Manufacturing Council, becoming the latest executive -- and the first tech leader -- to leave the body in the wake of the tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia.
In a blog post, Krzanich said he was committed to supporting US manufacturing but objected to Washington's response to violent protests in Charlottesville, which culminated in the death of a woman on Saturday. Without mentioning the president by name, Krzanich criticized those more interested in attacking critics than focusing on making progress.
"I resigned to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues, including the serious need to address the decline of American manufacturing," Krzanich wrote in the blog post. "Politics and political agendas have sidelined the important mission of rebuilding America's manufacturing base.
"I resigned because I want to make progress, while many in Washington seem more concerned with attacking anyone who disagrees with them," he wrote.
Kenneth Frazier, CEO of pharmaceutical giant Merck, and Kevin Plank, CEO of athletic wear manufacturer Under Armour,from the presidential council earlier Monday.
The defections come as Trump draws criticism for not specifically condemning the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white supremacist groups that descended on Charlottesville over the weekend for a rally called Unite the Right. Instead on Saturday, Trump said, "we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides."
The world's attention was drawn to Charlottesville because supremacist groups decided to protest the city's decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, prompting counter-protesters to show up. The rally ended in tragedy when someone drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one woman and injuring 19 others.
Krzanich isn't the first CEO to depart a Trump council. Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, left a pair of Trump councils in June after the US withdrew from the Paris Agreement regarding climate change. Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick left in February in response to the president's immigration ban.
The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Here's the complete text of Krzanich's post:
Earlier today, I tendered my resignation from the American Manufacturing Council. I resigned to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues, including the serious need to address the decline of American manufacturing. Politics and political agendas have sidelined the important mission of rebuilding America's manufacturing base.
I have already made clear my abhorrence at the recent hate-spawned violence in Charlottesville, and earlier today I called on all leaders to condemn the white supremacists and their ilk who marched and committed violence. I resigned because I want to make progress, while many in Washington seem more concerned with attacking anyone who disagrees with them. We should honor – not attack – those who have stood up for equality and other cherished American values. I hope this will change, and I remain willing to serve when it does.
I am not a politician. I am an engineer who has spent most of his career working in factories that manufacture the world's most advanced devices. Yet, it is clear even to me that nearly every issue is now politicized to the point where significant progress is impossible. Promoting American manufacturing should not be a political issue.
My request—my plea—to everyone involved in our political system is this: set scoring political points aside and focus on what is best for the nation as a whole. The current environment must change, or else our nation will become a shadow of what it once was and what it still can and should be.
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