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After Charlottesville, Boeing CEO stays put while others quit Trump council

President Donald Trump talks with Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg upon his arrival on Air Force One at Charleston International Airport in North Charleston, S.C., Friday, Feb. 17, 2017.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh
President Donald Trump talks with Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg upon his arrival on Air Force One at Charleston International Airport in North Charleston, S.C., Friday, Feb. 17, 2017.

Update 11 a.m., 8/16/2017: Two more CEOs — from 3M and Campbell's Soup — quit President Donald Trump's manufacturing council Wednesday. Trump then announced he was disbanding the council entirely.

Original post 8/15/2017:

The head of Washington state’s largest private employer will remain on Trump’s manufacturing council. Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg is staying put, even as six business and labor leaders have resigned since Monday.

Their departures came after Trump’s wavering reactions to violence by white supremacists in Virginia this weekend.

Trump condemned racism, neo-Nazis and the KKK on Monday after bipartisan condemnation of his earlier, tepid response. On Tuesday, he backtracked.

“I think there’s blame on both sides, and I have no doubt about it,” he said at Tuesday’s contentious press conference. He also spoke of “very fine people on both sides” – the two sides being white supremacists and anti-racists.

Boeing officials declined to comment to KUOW on Tuesday. So did spokespeople for the engineers’ and machinists’ unions at Boeing.

Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO coalition of labor unions, quit Trump’s council on Tuesday evening, along with former AFL-CIO official Thea Lee.

They followed the earlier departures of the CEOs of Merck, Intel and Under Armour and the head of the Alliance for American Manufacturing. Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier publicly departed the council early Monday morning, stating on Twitter, "as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism."

Less than an hour later, Trump started attacking Merck on Twitter.

“There is no place in our society for the bias, bigotry and senseless violence we witnessed this weekend in Virginia provoked by white nationalists,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who is not on the manufacturing council, emailed his employees on Monday, as the news outlet Quartz reported.

Muilenburg has praised Trump’s economic policies and hosted Trump at a Boeing plant in South Carolina.

“We've had the privilege of having a very open dialogue with him on business issues,” Muilenburg told analysts and reporters shortly after Trump’s inauguration in January. “Trump has very clearly focused on enacting policies that will grow the U.S. economy and grow American jobs, and we are very supportive of that.”

A Boeing spokesperson told FOX Business that Muilenburg was staying on Trump’s council.

After quitting the council, AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka explained why in an email.

[asset-images[{"caption": "AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka on his departure from Trump's manufacturing council", "fid": "138469", "style": "placed_wide", "uri": "public://201708/AFLCIOTrumpsnip.JPG", "attribution": "Credit AFL-CIO"}]]Tesla CEO Elon Musk quit the council in June to protest Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accords.

On Twitter, Trump slammed the CEOs who quit as grandstanders who could be easily replaced. 

By Tuesday afternoon, 18 CEOs remained on the council, and the hashtag #QuitTheCouncil was trending on Twitter.  

John Ryan loves getting tips and documents. He can be reached at or on the encrypted Signalor WhatsApp apps at 1-401-405-1206 (whistleblowers, never do so from a work or government device, account or location). For greatest security, use KUOW's SecureDrop portal. Snail mail is also a safe way to reach him confidentially: KUOW, 4518 University Way NE #310, Seattle, WA 98105. Don't put your return address on the outside.

Year started with KUOW: 2009