AFL-CIO president says Trump "unveiled his true feelings" in Charlottesville statement

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka is calling out President Trump's manufacturing council just one day after he announced he was resigning from the group, citing the council's ineffectiveness and Mr. Trump's most recent statements regarding the hate-group-driven clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia.

"The labor movement has forever been at the tip of the spear in ending racism and bigotry, we think it's not acceptable to even tolerate racism and bigotry, let alone defend it, encourage it and aid and abet it," Trumka said on "CBS This Morning" on Wednesday.

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Richard Trumka

He added, "the president's statement really unveiled his true feelings about the situation in Charlottesville and around country."

Trumka said that because the president gave a defense of hate-based organizations, "it became too much for us to be associated with that."

Trumka, one of the five members of the council who have recently stepped down in light of Mr. Trump's repeated comments that "both sides" bare the blame for the violent protests in Virginia, called the council a "subterfuge to be able to deregulate industry."

"It's never met, we've never had a meeting," Trumka said.

When asked if other members should follow suit in leaving the council, Trumka said it's on business leaders to follow their conscience in light of Mr. Trump's "spirited defense of racism and bigotry."

In response to Mr. Trump's claims that by giving people more jobs, it will "help end racism," Trumka said the president was "confusing issues."

"If jobs are created but people are excluded because of the way they look or who they worship or who they love are eliminated, then those jobs are beyond their reach, we're all about creating jobs and opportunities for everybody."

Trumka went on to say that that while the labor group did not support Mr. Trump in the election, he felt the group had an obligation for the country and to workers to "try to come together where we could."

Now, Trumka says, the labor movement will continue to "reject any notion of legitimacy for groups like the white nationalists, the Ku Klux Klan and other like-minded groups because we don't see any legitimacy to a group that their founding principle is racism and bigotry."

  • Emily Tillett

    Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital