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AFL-CIO president Trumka resigns from Trump's manufacturing council

Trump doubles down
Trump doubles down 05:24

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka and his deputy chief of staff Thea Lee are the latest members to resign from the Presidential Council on Manufacturing.

"We cannot sit on a council for a President who tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism," they said in a statement. "President Trump's remarks today repudiate his forced remarks yesterday about the KKK and neo-Nazis. We must resign on behalf of America's working people, who reject all notions of legitimacy of these bigoted groups."

  • WATCH WEDNESDAY AT 7 A.M. ET: Richard Trumka joins "CBS This Morning" for an exclusive interview

Their decision to resign comes following President Trump's comments Tuesday afternoon that blame the violent events in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend is "on both sides."

"You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent," Mr. Trump said at Trump Tower in New York City. "No one wants to say that, but I'll say it right now: You had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit and they were very, very violent."

Several of the nation's top business executives are part of Mr. Trump's manufacturing group. Trumka is the fifth executive to step down from one of the White House business advisory councils, following the recent resignation of Scott Paul, the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, earlier Tuesday afternoon.

The events in Charlottesville on Saturday killed one woman and injured 19 other individuals after a car rammed into a crowd of people present at a "Unite the Right" rally populated by white supremacists, neo-Nazis and hate groups.

Although Mr. Trump denounced those groups on Monday, he assigned some of the blame to counter-protesters on Tuesday.

"What about the alt-left that came charging at the alt-right -- do they have any semblance of guilt?" Trump said Tuesday afternoon. "They came charging, clubs in hand, swinging clubs."

richard trumka
Richard Trumka speaks during a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee on Capitol Hill on Oct. 29, 2009, in Washington, D.C. Getty

Trumka and Lee criticized Mr. Trump's Manufacturing Council as being an ineffective means to amend business-related policy and added that his comments Tuesday afternoon were "the last straw."

"We joined this council with the intent to be a voice for working people and real hope that it would result in positive economic policy, but it has become yet another broken promise on the President's record," the statement reads. "From hollow councils to bad policy and embracing bigotry, the actions of this administration have are consistently failed working people."

Meanwhile, Trumka will join "CBS This Morning" on Wednesday to talk about his decision on resigning from the council.

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