Trump ends CEO councils after Charlottesville comments as Pence and Hoosier lawmakers react

US President Donald Trump (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS – As a growing number of top-ranking CEO’s abandoned President Trump’s efforts to unite the business community, following his controversial remarks that equated ‘alt-left’ counter-protesters with white nationalists in Charlottesville, the president announced on Twitter Wednesday afternoon he was ending two executive councils.

One of the last afternoon rebukes came from United Technologies CEO Greg Hayes, the parent company of Carrier, who resigned the president’s American Manufacturing Council immediately.

“It is clear we need to collectively stand together and denounce the politics of hate, intolerance and racism,” Hayes said in a statement posted on Twitter.

Reaction Wednesday continued to intensify.

“What he said is the exact opposite of what he should have said,” said Kelly Ryan, an Indianapolis resident.

During an afternoon news conference at Trump Tower Tuesday afternoon, the president said both white nationalists, members of the Ku Klux Klan and Neo-Nazis were just as much to blame as ‘alt-left’ counter-protesters for the violent and deadly confrontations on Saturday.

“What about the alt-left that came charging at as you say the alt-right?” Trump said. “You look at both sides. I think there’s blame on both sides.”

Across talk radio Wednesday, strong reaction not only to the president’s remarks but the counter-protesters who also resorted to violence during Saturday’s encounters.

“The antifa people are not good, decent people,” Tony Katz said on his WIBC morning radio show. “I’ll never say so because they’re not, because they’ve proven themselves not. But you don’t go about, as the president did, trying to point out good people on each side. That is silly.”

Vice President Mike Pence, during a news conference in Chile Wednesday afternoon, said he stood by the president and referred to his previous comments on Sunday where he directly condemned the KKK and white supremacists.

“What happened in Charlottesville was a tragedy,” Pence said.  “And the president has been clear on this tragedy, and so have I. I’ve spoken at length about this tragedy on Sunday night. And I stand with the president. And I stand by those words.”

Pence, who is returning home early to Washington tomorrow, said while in Chile “our hearts are on Charlottesville.”

“We’ve been praying for God’s peace and comfort for her family and friends and loved ones,” he said.  “And we’re also praying that in America we will not allow the few to divide the many.”

Meantime, Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.) co-sponsored a resolution demanding the president fire White House officials “who support white supremacists, including Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka.”

“White supremacist organizations are the largest internal threat to our national security,” Carson said. “I’ve said it over and over again. Terrorism has a Muslim face or Islamic face, but the greater threat comes from these racial supremacist organizations.”

Other reaction from the Indiana delegation includes:

Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.)

Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.)

Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.)

Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.)

 

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