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First Read's Morning Clips: How Big Business Broke Up With Trump

A roundup of the most important political news stories of the day
Image: President Trump Participates In Strategic And Policy Forum At The White House
U.S. President Donald Trump, center, speaks during a Strategic and Policy Forum meeting in the State Dining room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017.Bloomberg / Bloomberg via Getty Images

TRUMP AGENDA: How Big Business broke up with Trump

NBC’s Stephanie Ruhle reports on how CEOs fled Trump’s advisory councils: “The advisory councils seem to have been largely symbolic, with few substantive initiatives on the table, according to people close to the CEOs and the White House who spoke to NBC News. The business leaders had joined with the intention to do good work, one source said, but the president's lackluster response to Charlottesville, among other issues, made it hard to stay on board. At least one chief executive of a large consumer-facing company had considered dropping out since Trump announced a ban on transgender service members in a tweet last month, according to sources close to the council. But Steve Schwarzman, the chief executive of the Blackstone Group and chairman of the Strategic and Policy Forum, urged members to hang in there, sources said.”

Recode: “Apple CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday called for an “unequivocal” denouncement of the recent neo-Nazi demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, stressing he disagreed with comments by President Donald Trump that attributed the violence there to “many sides” — and not white supremacists. In a note to Apple’s employees, obtained Wednesday night by Recode, Cook also announced the company would donate $1 million each to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.”

Here’s the American Prospect’s interview with Steve Bannon.

What can Congress do in reaction to Trump’s Charlottesville remarks? Benjy Sarlin takes a look.

The Washington Post writes that John Kelly is “deeply frustrated and dismayed” by Trump’s actions this week.

USA Today on Mitch McConnell’s anger over the president’s Charlottesville response: “Two sources close to the senator, speaking under condition of anonymity to describe private conversations, said the pro-civil rights Republican who lived through the 1960s in Kentucky closely deliberated on the best way forward. He spoke to a number of aides and confidantes, reflecting on his long career in public service that began working as an aide to former Sen. John Sherman Cooper, a Kentucky senator who was instrumental in the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts and – specifically – how hard it was being a pro-civil rights Republican at the time.”

Trump tweeted this morning: “Publicity seeking Lindsey Graham falsely stated that I said there is moral equivalency between the KKK, neo-Nazis & white supremacists...... ...and people like Ms. Heyer. Such a disgusting lie. He just can't forget his election trouncing.The people of South Carolina will remember!”

The Washington Post points out that racial divisions are nothing new for Donald Trump.

A White House adviser, quoted by POLITICO: “In some ways, Trump would rather have people calling him racist than say he backed down the minute he was wrong … This may turn into the biggest mess of his presidency because he is stubborn and doesn't realize how bad this is getting.”

A new poll shows that 40 percent of Americans support the impeachment of the president — up 10 percent in the last six months.

The mayor of Phoenix says he doesn’t want Trump to come to the city next week.

The New York Times points out that for now, Republicans are stuck in a dysfunctional marriage with Trump.

NPR and CBS both find that a majority of the public isn’t happy with Trump’s response to Charlottesville – but there are huge partisan divides.

OFF TO THE RACES: Trump touts Flake’s GOP primary opponent

AL-SEN: looks at just how low voter turnout was in the primary.

The Washington Post: “In Alabama, Senate Republicans have tied themselves to Trump. At what cost?”

AZ-SEN: Trump explicitly endorsed Kelli Ward over Jeff Flake in a tweet: “Great to see that Dr. Kelli Ward is running against Flake Jeff Flake, who is WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate. He's toxic!”

VA-GOV: Vice President Mike Pence has canceled a planned appearance with Ed Gillespie to focus on Asia strategy, according to the VP’s office.