Donald Trump’s advisory councils are no more.
This doesn’t mean, of course, that Trump will no longer be taking advice; it’s not clear that he ever listened to these groups anyway.
But, since the horrifying events in Charlottesville, and especially since Trump’s far more disturbing response to them, a few of America’s CEOs have decided they can’t, in good conscience, work with him. And then a few more followed, and then…
Initially, Trump announced that he could easily replace the defectors with more committed, patriotic, and energetic leaders.
And then he announced, via Twitter, that he would dissolve the councils altogether to take pressure off business leaders. (And so that he won’t have to make good on recruiting new corporate participants.)
But it was the executives on the council who first decided to disband, perhaps to take pressures off themselves. It’s hardly surprising that Trump claimed credit for something he could no longer do anything about.
Does it matter?
Presidential advisory councils like the Manufacturing Council and the Strategy and Policy Forum virtually never met anyway, and executives, when leaving, expressed disappointment about their lack of influence. It was all symbolic politics anyway. A few CEOs used their departures to make their own statements about the administration.
It’s hard to imagine that the end of these boards, which offered only a veneer of inclusion and consultation, will change anything materially. Then again, we will get yet another sign of the administration’s isolation.