Politics

Trump Labels CEOs Who Left Advisory Panel as ‘Grandstanders’

President used same insult to describe fired FBI Director James Comey

President Donald Trump says he has many potential replacements for the CEOs who quit his American Manufacturing Council. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump labeled as “grandstanders” the corporate executives who left a White House advisory council after he opted against quickly disavowing white supremacist groups following the weekend’s race-based violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The president used a late-morning post Tuesday on his favorite social media site to lash out at the chief executives of Merck, Under Armor and Intel. All three a day earlier announced they were leaving the President’s American Manufacturing Council in protest after Trump did not immediately — and clearly — condemn the Klu Klux Klan, neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups.

Trump had a message for Merck’s Kenneth Frazier, Under Armour’s Kevin Plank and Intel’s Brian Krzanich. “For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place,” he tweeted.

He then signaled that he believes including that trio in the first place was a mistake: “Grandstanders should not have gone on. JOBS!”

If the insult sounds familar, Trump has used it before: This spring, he often called James B. Comey, the FBI director he fired amid the Russia scandal, a “grandstander.” It also, once again, showed just how personally the 45th president appears to take such slights — and his continued attacks on the CEOs will give ammunition to his critics who questioned why it took him two days to condemn the white nationalist groups.

Tuesday’s tweet marked the first time Trump had publicly attacked the Intel and Under Armor bosses, but represented the second consecutive day he criticized Frazier.

In a Monday morning tweet, Trump did not hold back in making his feelings clear about Frazier’s resignation, tweeting that the pharmaceutical company CEO would “have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”

The president’s critics wasted little time in noting that Frazier is African-American, meaning Trump lashed out at him amid the recent tensions fueled by pro-Nazi and white supremacist groups. But the ever-defiant Trump — who finally condemned the white nationalist groups specifically on Monday afternoon — was not done with his attacks on the Merck boss.

Shortly before departing the White House on Monday after a day trip to the nation’s capital, Trump took to Twitter to call Merck “a leader in higher & higher drug prices while at the same time taking jobs out of the U.S.” He urged the company to “Bring jobs back & LOWER PRICES!”

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