Scott Paul, the President of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, became the fourth business leader to quit President Donald Trump’s Manufacturing Council in the wake of Trump’s reaction to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12. Paul joins Merck CEO Ken Frazier, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and Intel CEO Brian Krzanich.
“I’m resigning from the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative because it’s the right thing for me to do,” Paul tweeted.
Trump has responded to the departures with anger. “For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should not have gone on. JOBS,” Trump tweeted.
Here’s what you need to know about Paul and his decision to leave the Manufacturing Council.
1. Paul Is the Fifth Business Leader to Leave the Manufacturing Council Since It Was Created in January
Trump created the President’s Manufacturing Council on January 27 as an advisory board to offer Trump ways to help the American economy add jobs. Since then, five business leaders have left.
The first CEO to leave was Tesla CEO Elon Musk. On the same day that Trump announced he was pulling the U.S. from the UN Paris Climate Accord on June 1, Musk announced he was leaving. “Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world,” Musk wrote.
Paul is the fourth CEO to leave after Trump’s controversial “on many sides” statement after the violence in Charlottesville, where one person was killed and at least 19 injured when a driver slammed into counter-protesters at a white supremacist rally. On August 14, Trump issued another statement, where he specifically condemned white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the KKK.
Frazier left the council before Trump’s second statement. However, that was not enough to keep Krzanich, Plank and Paul on the council.
“I resigned to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues, including the serious need to address the decline of American manufacturing,” Krzanich wrote in his statement. “Politics and political agendas have sidelined the important mission of rebuilding America’s manufacturing base.”
2. Paul Leads an Effort to Make American Manufacturing a Major Issue for Politicians and Elections
The goals for the AAM and Trump’s administration should match well, since they both want to strengthen American manufacturing. According to the AAM’s website, the group is a non-profit and non-partisan partnership between leading American manufacturers and the United Steelworkers union. They promote American manufacturing and push national leaders to make it an important issue in elections.
Paul has hosted over 80 “Keep It Made in America” events across the country and has testified before House and Senate committees. When AAM was established, Paul was the executive director.
One example of an AAM “Keep It Made In America” event was a 2007 town hall meeting in Des Moines, Iowa, where actor John Ratzenberger showed up to promote the cause.
You can follow Paul on Twitter Twitter here.
3. Paul Worked as a Congressional Staffer Before Leading the AAM
As Paul’s Linkedin profile notes, he is a graduate of Penn State University and Georgetown University. He earned a B.A. in Foreign Service & International Politics from Penn State in 1989.
Since graduating college, Paul has spent most of his life in Washington. In 1988, he got a job as a legislative assistant for Indiana Rep. Jim Jontz. He also worked as a staffer for Reps. Peter W. Barva and David E. Bonior.
In 2001, he joined the AFL-CIO as a legislative assistant until he joined AAM.
Paul is married to Ilisa Halpern Paul, an advocate from California. The couple has twin boys.
4. Paul Says the Jobs Trump Has to Create Should Have a ‘High Skill Set’ & ‘Be Well Paying’
Paul has shown cautious optimism when it comes to Trump’s ability to bring jobs back. He wrote a New York Times op-ed in December, listing ways Trump could fulfill his promise to add new jobs. He also provided plenty of analysis when Trump claimed to have saved 800 jobs in his deal with Carrier in Indiana.
“His Carrier intervention is only a bandage on our industrial heartland that has suffered from thousands of similar wounds,” Paul wrote in November. “It will take carrots, sticks, and a lot of policy changes to reshore some manufacturing jobs and keep more of them here, even in this age of robotics and automation.”
Paul also has ideas on what specific jobs Trump should help American businesses create.
“The manufacturing jobs that should be coming back will be working with complex machines,” Paul told CNBC in January. “They’ll need a high skill set. They should be well-paying. And, look, it is possible to do this.”
Paul also said that Trump needs to be careful when renegotiating trade deals.
“I think, if done properly, we can boost the prospects for manufacturing jobs, keeping in mind that we have industries that suffer devastating consequences from unfair trade practices and those that benefit from export,” Paul told CNBC.
5. Paul Supports Renegotiating NAFTA
Also in his January CNBC interview, Paul said he thinks the North American Free Trade Agreement could “stand for renegotiation,” noting that it’s been over 20 years since the deal with Canada and Mexico was signed in 1994.
As the Los Angeles Times notes, Trump is scheduled to start NAFTA talks this week and under consideration is scrapping a ban on giving preferential treatment to American companies bidding on U.S. government contracts. Companies from Mexico and Canada are exempt from a Great Depression-era law called “Buy American.”
“From a policy perspective, Buy American makes sense,” Paul told the LA Times this month. “I think it’s a piece of the puzzle to unlocking opportunities for American workers.”
However, Paul was critical of Trump having business holdings in Mexico and Canada. “It lends credibility to the effort if it’s your personal corporate ethos as well,” Paul told the LA Times.
Paul also criticized Obama. In a blog post, he noted that the Obama Administration had some successes and failures when it came to manufacturing jobs. Although Obama helped the American economy recover from the 2008 financial crisis, he didn’t succeed with stopping currency manipulation and he negotiated the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal that both Trump and Hillary Clinton opposed during the November election.