Fallout from Trump’s Charlottesville response lands far and wide


Posted on: August 25th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) — The fallout from President Donald Trump’s response to the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month continues to resonate in the nation’s capital and beyond.

Trump’s initial statements — including that “many sides” incited the violence and that there were “very fine” people among both the group of white supremacists and counterprotesters — prompted widespread condemnation.

For his part, Trump has repeatedly condemned the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who were involved in the Charlottesville rally, but that has not stopped a widening range of people and groups from distancing themselves from him.

Advisory councils disbanded

Multiple White House advisory councils disbanded after more and more members resigned, and Trump and his team pulled the plug on them.

It started when several members from the White House’s American Manufacturing Council publicly stepped down, and after the resignations reached at least eight, Trump tweeted Aug. 16 that he was disbanding both the Manufacturing Council and the Strategy and Policy Forum.

Two days later, 16 members of the president’s Committee on the Arts resigned en masse, releasing a resignation letter that specifically cited Trump’s “hateful rhetoric” in regard to Charlottesville. The letter appeared to signal a secret message, as the first word of every paragraph in the letter spelled out R-E-S-I-S-T.

The White House released a statement around the same time saying that “earlier this month it was decided that President Trump will not renew” the committee.

Actor Kal Penn, who was a member of the committee and who had worked as a part of the Obama administration, tweeted in response to the White House statement.

People leave the administration

One of the State Department’s science envoys, Dr. Daniel Kammen, resigned Wednesday, specifically citing Trump’s Charlottesville remarks.

Kammen wrote that his resignation was prompted by the president’s “failure to condemn white supremacists and neo-Nazis,” calling it “a pattern of behavior that enables sexism and racism and disregards the welfare of all Americans, the global community and the planet.”

He also mimicked the secret signal, or acrostic, used by the arts committee. In his letter, he spelled out I-M-P-E-A-C-H, using the first letter of each paragraph.

Meanwhile, businessman Carl Icahn announced Aug. 18 that he would no longer serve as a special adviser to Trump on issues relating to regulatory overhaul, though he did not cite Charlottesville as the reason for his departure.

Events canceled

A growing number of groups appear to be distancing themselves from Trump by canceling previously scheduled events at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

As of today, 20 organizations had confirmed to ABC News that they have either canceled or moved events or fundraisers previously scheduled at Mar-a-Lago, including a number of cancer research foundations and the American Red Cross.

“The Red Cross provides assistance without discrimination to all people in need, regardless of nationality, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or political opinions, and we must be clear and unequivocal in our defense of that principle,” the Red Cross said in a statement to ABC News.

On Wednesday, a coalition of major rabbinical groups said it will not hold an annual conference call with the president because of his response to Charlottesville.

“The president’s words have given succor to those who advocate anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia,” the groups said in a statement announcing the cancellation.

Political impact

Trump’s critics were joined by a number of members of his own party in the near-universal criticism that he received in the wake of his comments.

The impact is starting to show in the polls, as the ABC News-Washington Post poll that was released nine days after the Charlottesville rally showed that 56 percent of respondents disapproved of his response and only 28 percent approved.

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