US President Donald Trump angrily defended the torch-bearing racists who stormed the city of Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend to participate in the white supremacist rally that culminated in the tragic slaying of 32-year-old Heather Hayer.
His words apparently had little impact on Michael Dell, the CEO of Dell Technologies. The company tells Gizmodo that Trump's press conference changed nothing, and that Dell will continue to advise Trump as a member of the White House manufacturing council — even as #QuitTheCouncil began trending on Twitter and another of his peers abandoned the president citing personal moral obligations.
This morning, Trump said he believed "both sides" were responsible for the violence in Charlottesville. Speaking without a teleprompter, the president's tone contrasted sharply with the calm and well-received statement he had delivered the day before. Whatever small credit Trump accrued for rebuking the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazis groups was obliterated instantly today when he labelled as "innocent" individuals who marched on the University of Virginia grounds bellowing racist chants such as, "Jews will not replace us."
In a statement to Gizmodo today, a spokesperson for Dell Technologies said Trump's remarks had no effect on its CEO's decision this week to remain a part of the president's manufacturing council — a group which has seen four high-profile departures, including AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka who resigned roughly an hour after today's press conference.
"There is no change to our current statement," said Dell's spokesperson, referring to remarks released earlier in the day which said Michael Dell would continue to "engage with the Trump administration and governments around the world to share our perspective on policy issues that affect our company, customers and employees".
Yesterday, Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich announced his resignation from US President Donald Trump's American Manufacturing Council, making him the third chief to bail after Trump did not take a strong enough stance against the domestic terrorism that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced his departure from the council today, writing in a blog that his decision was intended to "call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues, including the serious need to address the decline of American manufacturing". He added: "Politics and political agendas have sidelined the important mission of rebuilding America's manufacturing base."
Kenneth Frazier, chief executive of the drugmaker Merck, was the first to step down. Trump responded with an angry tweet saying now Frazier would have "more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!"
In addition to Dell, a long list of industry leaders remain at the US president's side, executives at companies such as General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Caterpillar and Campbell Soup.
The only other company to respond to a request for comment today was Harris Corporation, makers of the infamous "Stingray" device police use to track suspects' mobile phones. A Harris spokesperson declined to say whether its chairman, William Brown, had any plans to leave the council.
If Trump's equivocation of violence in Charlottesville, and the fiery defence of people marching in and alongside hate groups that no longer mask their support for "ethnic cleansing" in the America, fails to impress upon companies like Dell that now is the time to resist, then it's hard to imagine what terrible thing the US president would have to do or say to get that message across.