White House business councils disband

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President Trump announced the disbanding of two business councils, The Strategy and Policy Forum and the Manufacturing Council. Both were made up of top corporate leaders in America. However, both groups had already decided to disband on their own following President Trump’s press conference where he doubled-down on his assertion that both white supremacist groups and those protesting them were to blame for deadly violence in Charlottesville. We’ll hear from Karl Gentles, the public policy chair of the Black Chamber of Arizona Board.

COMING UP NEXT ON "ARIZONA HORIZON," LOCAL REACTION TO THE DISBANDING OF THE PRESIDENT'S TWO-BUSINESS ADVISORY COUNCILS. THOSE COUNCILS ARE NO MORE DUE TO THE PRESIDENT'S CONTROVERSIAL COMMENTS ON THE VIOLENCE IN CHARLOTTESVILLE. AND ALSO TONIGHT, RESEARCHERS ARE NOW ABLE TO EDIT GENES IN HUMAN EMBRYOS TO PREVENT DISEASE. THOSE STORIES NEXT, ON "ARIZONA HORIZON."

"ARIZONA HORIZON" IS MADE POSSIBLE BY THE FRIENDS OF ARIZONA PBS, MEMBERS OF YOUR PBS STATION. THANK YOU.

GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO "ARIZONA HORIZON." I'M TED SIMONS. PRESIDENT TRUMP WILL BE IN PHOENIX NEXT WEEK, IT'LL BE HIS FIRST TRIP WEST SINCE TAKING OFFICE. THE EVENT IS SET FOR THE PHOENIX CONVENTION CENTER AT 7:00P.M. THOSE WISHING TO ATTEND MUST REGISTER TO GET TICKETS. NO WORD AS YET ON WHAT ISSUES THE PRESIDENT WILL ADDRESS IN WHAT IS EXPECTED TO BE A CAMPAIGN-STYLE RALLY. AND NO WORD IF THE "GOVERNOR" OR OTHER STATE REPUBLICAN LEADERS WILL ATTEND THE EVENT. THE PRESIDENT TODAY ANNOUNCED THE DISBANDING OF TWO WHITE BOTH WERE MADE UP OF TOP AMERICAN CORPORATE LEADERS. BOTH GROUPS HAD ALREADY DECIDED TO DISBAND ON THEIR OWN BECAUSE OF THE PRESIDENT'S COMMENTS REGARDING THE VIOLENCE THIS-

--VIDEO BEGINS--

TED SIMONS: -WEEKEND IN CHARLOTTESVILLE. JOINING US NOW TO TALK ABOUT THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY'S REACTION TO THE PRESIDENT'S WORDS IS KARL GENTLES, THE PUBLIC POLICY CHAIR OF THE BLACK CHAMBER OF ARIZONA BOARD. GOOD TO HAVE YOU BACK. NICE TO SEE YOU AGAIN. YOUR REACTION TO THE PRESIDENT'S WORDS?

KARL GENTLES: WELL, WHERE DO YOU BEGIN? IT'S BEEN QUITE A 48 HOURS. THE PRESIDENT, I THINK, HAD AN OPPORTUNITY, FIRST TO MAKE COMMENTS THAT CALMED THE SITUATION WHEN THIS HAPPENED OVER THE WEEKEND, AND THEN HAD A REDO AND SEEMED TO FAN THE FLAMES GREATER. UNFORTUNATELY, I THINK HE MISSED AN OPPORTUNITY, AND THERE IS A LOT OF WORK AHEAD FOR HIM TO DO TO CLEAN UP WHAT PEOPLE SEE AS A MISSED OPPORTUNITY.

TED SIMONS: WHAT BOTHERED YOU MOST?

KARL GENTLES: THERE IS NO ROOM FOR THE IDEOLOGY OF WHITE SUPREMACY AND NEONAZISM. THERE JUST ISN’T. IN POLITICS, THAT’S PRETTY LOW-HANGING FRUIT, TO DENOUNCE AN ISSUE OF THAT NATURE AND SO HE JUST COMPLETELY MISSED IT. THE PRESIDENT, AT THE BEGINNING OF THE WHOLE THING, HE COULD HAVE COME OUT – AND REMEMBER, THE PRESIDENT IS A VERY STRONG COMMUNICATOR, CLEAR COMMUNICATOR, AND HE COULD HAVE DONE A LOT OF GOOD RIGHT UP FRONT BY DENOUNCING WHAT HE SAW, SETTING THE TONE OF THE NATIONAL AGENDA AS IT RELATES TO THE ISSUES WE SAW.

TED SIMONS: AMID THE FALLOUT, TWO WHITE HOUSE BUSINESS ADVISORY COUNCILS HAVE DISBANDED. DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHY THE CEOS RESIGNED?

KARL GENTLES: THE COUNCILS ARE IMPORTANT. THEY HELP THE PRESIDENT SET THE BUSINESS AGENDA FOR HIS ADMINISTRATION. THEY ARE REALLY IMPORTANT. THOSE ARE COVETED SEATS. THE CHALLENGE THAT BUSINESS HAS IS BUSINESS RUNS ON TWO THINGS. THE PRIMARY THING IS CONSUMERS. CONSUMERS PAY ATTENTION TO REPUTATION, REPUTATIONS OF COMPANIES AND THEY ASSOCIATE THOS COMPANIES WITH CERTAIN THINGS. IF A BUSINESS IS ASSOCIATED WITH THE ACTIONS THAT WE SEE PLAYING OUT, CONSUMERS WILL NOT FOLLOW THROUGH AND WALKTHROUGH THE DOOR. BUSINESSES ARE VITALLY, THEY PAY A LOT OF ATTENTION TO WHAT THE PERCEPTION OF THE COMPANY IS. I THINK THE CHALLENGE THAT THE PRESIDENT HAS NOW, THERE WERE FOUR OR FIVE MAJOR CORPORATE CEOS THAT DECIDED TO STEP DOWN AND QUITE FRANKLY, IN MY OPINION, IT'S PROBABLY A GOOD CHOICE. THE ADMINISTRATION IS UNDER SUCH HEAT FOR THE POSITIONS THEY HAVE TAKEN. THE CEOS TOOK A LOOK AND SAID, WHAT'S BEST FOR THEIR BUSINESS? THEY SAID WE HAVE TO STEP AWAY AND NOT BE ASSOCIATED WITH WHAT THEY HAVE SEEN.

TED SIMONS: MOST OF THESE CEOS HAVE SHAREHOLDERS TO ANSWER TO AS WELL.

KARL GENTLES: ABSOLUTELY. IT'S SHAREHOLDER VALUE. THE ACTIONS OR WHERE THE REPUTATION OF THE COMPANY DRIVES SHAREHOLDER VALUE. THAT'S PRIMARILY IMPORTANT TO THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND SHAREHOLDERS.

TED SIMONS: HAS THE PRESIDENT LOST THE CONFIDENCE OF THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY? WE’LL START IN ARIZONA, WE’LL START WITH THE BLACK BUSINESS COMMUNITY HERE IN ARIZONA. RELATIONSHIP THERE, NOW?

KARL GENTLES: I THINK THE PRESIDENT HAS A LOT OF WORK TO DO TO BUILD CONFIDENCE NOT ONLY IN THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN BUSINESS COMMUNITY BUT ACROSS THE NATIONAL BUSINESS COMMUNITY. PEOPLE DON'T RESIGN FROM THOSE MAJOR POSTS NATIONALLY WITHOUT SERIOUS THOUGHT. THEY HAVE WEIGHED THEIR OPTIONS AND DECIDED THAT IT MADE MORE SENSE TO PROTECT THE REPUTATION OF THE COMPANY THAN TO BE ASSOCIATED. HERE IN ARIZONA, IT'S NO DIFFERENT. WE’RE JUST ON A SMALLER SCALE. WE WANT TO PROTECT THE REPUTATION OF BUSINESSES HERE AND ABILITY TO DO BUSINESS AND THE REPUTATION AND ASSOCIATION OF BUSINESSES WHERE IT'S VITALLY IMPORTANT TO DO BUSINESS.

TED SIMONS: LET ME REPHRASE THE QUESTION. DID HE EVER HAVE THE CONFIDENCE OF THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY?

KARL GENTLES: FROM WHAT YOU HEAR IN MEDIA REPORTS, BUSINESS IS HIS SWEET SPOT. IT APPEARED HE HAD THE CONFIDENCE OF BUSINESS. THE STOCK MARKET HAS BEEN ON A ROAR LATELY. A LOT OF JOBS BEING ANNOUNCED. IT APPEARS HE HAD SOME CONFIDENCE FROM THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY. WHAT GOES ON FROM HERE, HE HAS SOME ROADS TO REBUILD. THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY, LIKE I SAID, IS GOING TO STEP BACK AND REASSESS THINGS BASED ON THE PERCEPTION THEY HAVE OF THE PRESIDENT'S ABILITY TO A, TAKE A MORAL STAND POSITION ON AN ISSUE OF THIS NATURE, AND ALSO, THERE IS A POLITICAL ISSUE THAT THE BUSINESSES HAVE THAT THEY HAVE TO WEIGH AS WELL. THERE ARE A LOT OF CONSIDERATIONS. THE JURY IS STILL OUT ON WHETHER OR NOT THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY HAS LOST CONFIDENCE IN HIM.

TED SIMONS: WHEN THE INITIAL DROPOUTS HAPPEN, THE PRESIDENT SAID FOR EVERY CEO THAT DROPS OUT, I HAVE MANY TO TAKE THEIR PLACE. GRANDSTANDERS SHOULD NOT HAVE GONE ON THE COUNCIL IN THE FIRST PLACE. WHEN YOU HEAR THAT, DOES HE GET IT?

KARL GENTLES: SHORT ANSWER, NO. THAT BUSINESS COUNCIL IS NOT MADE OF GRANDSTANDERS. THOSE ARE SOME SERIOUS, HIGH LEVEL, TOP OF THE LEVEL CEOS. I DON'T THINK THERE IS GRANDSTANDING IN TAKING A STAND AGAINST A MORAL ISSUE OF THIS NATURE. IN POLITICS, IT'S NOT HARD TO GET WRONG. YOU DENOUNCE THE THINGS THAT ARE REPUGNANT. YOU DON'T DEFEND THEM OR DENOUNCE THEM AND THEN TURN AROUND AND DEFEND THEM. THE PRESIDENT IS TRYING TO PLAY A NARROW GAME HERE. QUITE FRANKLY, THE RHETORIC IN THE CAMPAIGN PLAYED A LOT TO A BASE WE SAW IN ACTION HERE. NOW, TO TURN AROUND AND DENOUNCE THEM, HE'S DENOUNCING, BASICALLY, A PORTION OF HIS BASE THAT GOT HIM THERE IN GENERAL. HE'S GOT HIMSELF IN A PECULIAR SITUATION WHERE HE HAS THE MORAL OBLIGATION TO LEAD THE COUNTRY, HE HAS A POLITICAL ISSUE TO SOLVE WITH HIS OWN PARTY AND HIS BASE, AND HE HAS A BUSINESS ISSUE BECAUSE HE HAS TO KEEP THE CONFIDENCE OF THE BUSINESS LEADERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY. MOST OF THAT’S THE BUSINESS LEADERS HERE IN ARIZONA.

GOOD STUFF. GREAT TO SEE YOU. YOU'RE WATCHING ARIZONA HORIZON. UP NEXT, POLITICAL FALLOUT FROM THE PRESIDENT'S COMMENTS ON THE VIOLENCE IN VIRGINIA.

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