President Donald Trump angrily defended the torch-bearing racists who stormed the city of Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend to participate in a 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.
Tuesday afternoon, 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 repudiating the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis was obliterated instantly Tuesday when he labeled 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 on Tuesday, a spokesperson for Dell Technologies said Trump’s remarks had no immediate effect on its CEO’s decision this week to remain a part of the president’s manufacturing council—a group which has seen five 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,” Dell’s spokesperson said, 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.”
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced his departure from the council on Tuesday, 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 on Monday. As usual, Trump responded with an angry tweet, saying Frazier would now have “more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”
In addition to Dell, a long list of industry leaders remain at the 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 late Tuesday was Harris Corporation, makers of the infamous “Stingray” device police use to track suspects’ cellphones. 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—the fiery defense of people marching in and alongside hate groups that support “ethnic cleansing” in America—fails to impress upon companies like Dell that it is now time to resist, it will be hard to imagine what terrible thing the president would have to do or say to ever get that message across.