Amidst the steady retreat of business and cultural leaders serving on presidential advisory councils in the aftermath of President Trump’s disastrous comments on the Charlottesville massacre last week comes the latest set of defections.
According to a story on Politico.com, more than 50% of the members of the Commerce Department’s Digital Economy Board Of Advisors have resigned en masse in response to Trump’s refusal to assign blame to the neo-Nazi’s and white supremacists in Virginia.
The board was originally founded last year by the Obama administration to bring on experts who could help the federal government navigate the digital economy. Among those resigning are executives from Comcast, Microsoft, Mozilla, McKinsey, Consumer Reports, and the University of California at Berkeley Law School.
Mitchell Baker, executive chairwoman of Mozilla, gave the reasons for her resignation in a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross:
“It is the responsibility of leaders to take action and lift up each and every American. Our leaders must unequivocally denounce bigotry, racism, sexism, hate, and violence,”
While the first set of business executive departures were resignations from advisory boards that would have to work directly with President Trump, these latest departures are the first to affect a board that works in conjunction with a federal agency, rather than with the administration directly.
Most of the resigning members of the panel started their two-year terms during the Obama administration and could not have envisioned the drastically changed environment that they would have to deal with under the current administration.
Politico reports that the Commerce Department did not respond to requests for comments, but, if past experience is any guide, expect Trump to announce shortly that he was going to disband the Digital Economy Board Of Advisors anyway.
Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.