The resignation of Merck & Co. CEO Ken Frazier from President Donald Trump’s council of manufacturing executives won’t have much impact as long as the council has the President’s ears, according to Harry Moser, president and founder of Reshoring Initiative, an industry advocacy group.
“The deaths in Charlottesville are a disaster and it’s a long-term issue, so one guy stepping down from President Trump’s manufacturing council is not a horrible thing for the council,” Moser said. ““If the other executives in the council contribute, and are listened to by President Trump, then 3 months from now no one will remember this case.
Frazier resigned from the council on August 14, saying “America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values” by rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy. Referring to the weekend’s violence in Virginia involving white supremacist groups that Trump has been criticized for not taking a forceful enough stand against, Frazier said “as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”
By midday, Frazier was joined by a handful of other executives as a voice of dissent in the business community, including CEOs of Apple and Unilever. However, no other executive distanced themselves from the manufacturing council. For instance, General Electric said in a statement that it “has no tolerance for hate, bigotry or racism,” but added that its chairman and recently-retired chief executive, Jeff Immelt, will remain on the manufacturing council.
“President Trump clearly is disruptive, so some people get offended – whether right or wrong – but he’s trying to get important things done,” Moser added.
According to the Reshoring Initiative, for the first time in decades, more manufacturing jobs are returning to the United States than are going offshore. For instance, in 2016, the combined reshoring and foreign direct investment added 77,000 jobs in the US, exceeding offshoring by 27,000 jobs.