Intel CEO Brian Krzanich is the latest chief executive to step down from President Donald Trump’s jobs advisory board, and the first among the remaining tech industry leaders to do so following the attacks perpetuated by white supremacists and affiliated groups during a Charlottesville, Virginia rally this past weekend.
“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 a note posted to Intel’s policy blog this evening. “Politics and political agendas have sidelined the important mission of rebuilding America’s manufacturing base.”
This latest series of withdrawals from Trump’s economic advisory board started when Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier resigned from the American Manufacturing Council earlier today after Trump blamed the violence incited by neo-Nazis and white nationalists in Charlottesville on “many sides.” But the remark was largely met, at least initially, with a shrug by Intel, Dell, and GE, among others.
Here’s Dell’s founder and CEO, Michael Dell, who sits on the council: “While we wouldn’t comment on any member’s personal decision, there’s no change in Dell engaging with the Trump administration and governments around the world to share our perspective on policy issues that affect our company, customers and employees,” a spokeswoman said.
Intel initially declined to comment, though CEO Brian Krzanich did send out this tweet:
There should be no hesitation in condemning hate speech or white supremacy by name. #Intel asks all our countries leadership to do the same— Brian Krzanich (@bkrunner) August 14, 2017
After mounting criticism of Trump’s response to the attacks and additional pressure on the business leaders who remained officially affiliated with his administration, Krzanich eventually conceded.
“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,” he wrote in his statement. “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.”
Notably, Krzanich was a vocal proponent of last year’s “Hack Harassment” campaign, in which he and Intel made many earnest speeches about the need to protect victims of online harassment. On Monday, Trump took a shot at Frazier on Twitter, saying that after resigning “he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”
GE CEO Jeff Immelt, reportedly a candidate to become Uber’s next CEO, isn’t leaving the council, it seems. The company issued a statement saying it had “no tolerance for hate, bigotry or racism,” but said GE would stay.
GE condemns racism but says "Immelt will remain on the Presidential Committee on American Manufacturing while he is the Chairman of GE" pic.twitter.com/8jOoDythsx— Sam Stein (@samstein) August 14, 2017
Update at 11:03PM ET, 8/14: Added that Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has in fact decided to resign from Trump’s economic advisory panel. The headline of this story has been updated to reflect this fact.