Charlottesville, Virginia: Statement from a Former Trump Business Councillor


White nationalists confront anti-fascism protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia (photo credit: Joshua Roberts / Reuters)

Professional networking site LinkedIn is not generally a go-to source for news, so in light of the recent violent racial disturbances in Charlottesville, Virginia, that resulted in one fatality, I thought this statement from CEO and Chairman of the Dow Chemical Company, Andrew N. Liveris, an insightful addition to the almost formulaic post-tragedy commentary we are accustomed to receiving from the mainstream media.

While US President Trump dithered before finally responding — seemingly only under duress — to the events, and only then responding in a manner to the shock, it may be said, of everyone except the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacist groups, both national and international leaders all along the political spectrum (with the noted exception of Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu), former presidents, and spiritual leaders were incisive in their condemnation of both the turmoil, and of Trump’s response to it.

In the wake of Trump’s response, essentially villainising and victim-blaming anti-fascist protestors and legitimising white supremacist groups by setting up a false equivalence between the two, the Commander-in-Chief found himself faced with a mass exodus of his business councils’ CEOs, no doubt eager to dissociate themselves and the brands they represent from an unrepentant bigot, forcing him to dissolve both the Strategic and Policy Forum, and the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative.

With Liveris having until very recently sat on the latter, and while it’s disappointing — if not unexpected — to read more Paul Ryan-esque weaseliness coming from the business community, rather than the “full-throated condemnation” he refers to, his statement is interesting both for the light it sheds on the delicate dance between the political and corporate worlds, and for the implicit criticisms it levels at President Trump.

Unamerican. Racist. Bigoted. Perhaps I’m excessively reading between the lines, but it seems to me that Liveris could have made his point at less length, and without belabouring the antisocial key words. The only real criticism I can think of to level at his statement is his  creatively euphemistic assertion that:

[I]n discussions I had with the White House earlier today, I indicated that in the current environment it was no longer possible to conduct productive discussions under the auspices of the Initiative. And so, as proud as I am of the efforts we were taking on behalf of the American worker, disbanding the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative was the right decision.

This is almost meaningless, unless of course by “environment” Liveris actually means “president”.

It would be nice to see this mass jumping of ship and gladdening collection of smack-downs as prima facie evidence that the toxic breakdown in civil discourse Trump has unleashed on the United States is meeting with some much-needed disinfectant.

Read the full statement here.



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