NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — The head of Johnson & Johnson decided to step down from President Donald Trump's Manufacturing Council today, prior to its disbandment, according to the company.
Alex Gorsky, chairman and CEO of the New Brunswick-based Johnson & Johnson, announced his exit in a statement, following reports published yesterday, Aug. 15., which said he planned to remain on the panel to advocate for health care.
“Johnson & Johnson has a responsibility to remain engaged as important policy decisions are made. That hasn't changed,” Gorksy said. “The President's most recent statements equating those who are motivated by race-based hate with those who stand up against hatred is unacceptable and has changed our decision to participate in the White House Manufacturing Advisory Council.”
In a tweet shortly after 1 p.m. today, Trump announced the disbandment of the manufacturing council and another body of business leaders. He cited pressure placed on those individuals and their companies.
Several CEOs resigned from the panels in recent days, after widespread criticism of Trump's condemnation of not just the white supremacists and nationalists who caused havoc in Charlottesville, Va., but also counter-protesters.
One person died and several were injured in an alleged attack by a white supremacist who police said drove his car into a crowd. Many leaders have condemned the act as domestic terrorism.
Gorsky said yesterday he planned to remain on the council to advocate for health care. But that changed after an off-the-cuff press conference yesterday in which Trump once again placed blame on the counter-protesters.
“We will continue to support, advocate and champion policies and programs that make this country and the world healthier, stronger and more united,” Gorsky said.