During his campaign for president, Donald Trump boasted of business prowess, vowing to bring in top executives to help him revive the economy and to personally lobby corporate chiefs to keep jobs in the U.S.
Those CEOs are now abandoning him in a humiliating snub for a president who took great pleasure in summoning corporate titans to the White House and trying to get them to bend to his will.
After widespread criticism for remarks that appeared to confer legitimacy on white supremacists, Trump is facing a mass exodus of the CEOs he once courted, a public repudiation that undermines his image as a businessman and could threaten his policy agenda on everything from taxes to trade.
Trump said Wednesday he’s disbanding two advisory groups of American business leaders, after several CEOs quit this week and more were preparing to resign in the wake of his comments that some “very fine people” were among neo-Nazis protesting at a violent rally in Charlottesville last weekend.
The week’s events threaten to forever tarnish Trump’s credentials as a business president, undermining a foundation of his political appeal and weakening the Republican party’s core alliance with business interests for as long as he leads the party. The political damage compounds the risk the GOP faces in 2018 midterm elections.
Corporate executives are now making a pragmatic calculation that a Republican president’s brand has become too toxic, said Carlos Gutierrez, chairman of Albright Stonebridge Group, a Washington international strategy firm that advises businesses.
“There’s always the risk that CEOs will not have…
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