Speed Reads


Business leaders decide to disband Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum after the president's controversial comments

On Wednesday, President Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum decided to disband. A member of the group, comprised of top business leaders and led by Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman, told CNBC that the break-up was due to Trump's response to the weekend's white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump was slow to directly condemn the white nationalists, and he has repeatedly blamed "both sides" for the rally's violence.

"As our members have expressed individually over the past several days, intolerance, racism, and violence have absolutely no place in this country and are an affront to core American values," the members said in a statement to CNBC. "We believe the debate over forum participation has become a distraction from our well-intentioned and sincere desire to aid vital policy discussions on how to improve the lives of everyday Americans." An executive told CNBC that "the thinking it was important to do as a group," not as "individuals, because it would have a more significant impact."

Trump, however, tweeted Wednesday that it was his decision to end the council. "Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!" he wrote.

The forum is separate from Trump's American Manufacturing Council, which has been bleeding members. This week, seven business leaders quit the council over Trump's response to the Charlottesville protests.