The National Association of Manufacturers, a powerhouse business lobbying group, welcomed President Donald Trump to its annual meeting in September 2017. Its president, Jay Timmons, introduced Trump as “a true champion for our industry, who has fought for manufacturing since Day 1 of his presidency.”
This past week, as insurgents seeking to overturn Trump’s reelection defeat stormed the U.S. Capitol, Timmons and his association issued a severe statement calling for the president’s removal from office via the 25th Amendment of the Constitution.
“This is chaos,” the statement read. “It is mob rule. It is dangerous. This is sedition and should be treated as such. The outgoing president incited violence in an attempt to retain power.”
The statement was the culmination of months of frustration in the organization over shortcomings in the Trump administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and, more recently, Trump’s contesting of the election result. It was also the product of rising anger from Timmons, who has blamed Trump and other political leaders for his father’s death from the virus last month.
The rebuke was an extraordinary break between Trump and a major business lobbying group that worked closely with him to secure tax cuts and regulatory rollbacks and that the president has showered with attention and praise.
Timmons and his leadership team did not poll association members before calling for Trump’s removal, although the executive committee agreed to the group’s increasingly emphatic news releases after the November election calling for an orderly transfer of power to President-elect Joe Biden.
In an interview on Friday, Timmons declined to say whom among his association’s leadership team he had consulted before issuing the statement. He said that most members supported the statement and that he had received messages of thanks from some Trump administration staff members.
Steve Staub, president of Staub Manufacturing Solutions, which focuses on metal fabrication in Dayton, Ohio, said in an email that he did not support the statement. He declined to say what he objected to or whether he might resign from the executive committee of the association’s board.
Other members of the committee said they backed the statement. They included Karl Hutter, chief executive of Click Bond, an aerospace manufacturer, and Rice Powell, chief executive of Fresenius Medical Care, a company that provides products and services for people with chronic kidney failure.