The co-chairs of the Department of Commerce's Digital Economy Board of Advisors have resigned in what is the latest fallout over President Trump's reluctance to completely denounce racism following the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The co-chairs — Zoë Baird, CEO of the Markle Foundation; and Mitchell Baker, executive chairwoman of Mozilla — submitted their resignations on Thursday. In doing so, Baird said "there must never be equivocation in denouncing hate, bigotry, violence and racism."
According to The Register, other members of the Digital Economy Board have also resigned, including Karen Bartleson, president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers; Sonia Katyal, a professor of law at the University of California; and Corey Thomas, CEO of Rapid7.
The economic board would be the fourth advisory group to the president to fall apart this week after a cascade of CEOs quit the American Manufacturing Council, and the Strategic and Policy Forum decided to disband on Wednesday. In response, the president said on Twitter that he was "ending both" groups.
All 17 members of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities also resigned their posts this week.
The Digital Economy Board, unlike the two other councils, was appointed last year by Obama's commerce secretary, Penny Pritzker, to "provide recommendations on ways to advance economic growth and opportunity in the digital age."
Still, the latest round of resignations is honing the spotlight on the president's inability to keep one of his most natural groups of allies — business leaders — on his side, raising questions about how he'll be able to deliver on his promise to grow business and jobs.
Spokespeople for both Baird and Baker provided BuzzFeed News with their resignation letters, which were submitted to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
Here is Baird's statement:
August 17, 2017
Dear Secretary Ross:
I am resigning from my position as co-chair of the Commerce Department’s Digital Economy Board of Advisors, effective immediately.
It is the moral responsibility of our leaders to unite Americans by respecting the diversity and inclusion that enables our country to generate new opportunity and celebrate freedom. In order to preserve these cherished values, there must never be equivocation in denouncing hate, bigotry, violence and racism.
For decades, I have worked with every administration of both parties to further equal access to opportunity for all Americans. Having served on DEBA since March 2016, it has been an honor and privilege to work on behalf of my country and shape economic policies that benefit all Americans.
This is Baker's letter:
Dear Secretary Ross,
I am resigning from my position as a member and co-chair of the Commerce Department’s Digital Economy Board of Advisors, effective immediately.
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.
The digital economy is fundamental to creating an economy that offers opportunity to all Americans. It has been an honor to serve as member and co-chair of this board and to work with the Commerce Department staff.
Venessa Wong is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Wong covers the food industry.
Contact Venessa Wong at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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