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Vox Sentences: Noted businessman Donald Trump dissolves his business councils

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Baltimore quietly takes down all of its Confederate statues; Trump's business and manufacturing councils dissolve after his Charlottesville comments; French President Emmanuel Macron's poll numbers tank.

The case of the missing monuments

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  • In the middle of the night on Tuesday, city employees in Baltimore quietly removed all four of that city’s Confederate monuments, putting the statues on the backs of large flatbed trucks and driving them away. [Baltimore Sun / Colin Campbell, Talia Richman, and Luke Broadwater]
  • The city council unanimously voted to remove the statues the day before, in response to the deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, protesting the planned removal of that city’s monument to Robert E. Lee. [Baltimore Sun / Colin Campbell, Talia Richman, and Luke Broadwater]
  • In a statement, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said the reason for the statues literally being removed in the dead of night came down to public safety and avoiding any violent confrontation like what took place in Virginia. [NYT / Nicholas Fandos and Russell Goldman]
  • A number of Southern cities have been grappling with what to do about lasting symbols of the Confederacy, especially after a self-proclaimed white supremacist shot and killed black parishioners in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015. [Vox / German Lopez]
  • Cities including New Orleans have gradually been removing monuments, but this weekend’s events in Charlottesville are speeding up that process. [Vox / German Lopez]
  • Baltimore’s response was a much quieter compared to the events that transpired in Durham, North Carolina, where protesters pulled down a Confederate monument on Monday. That state’s Democratic governor has also said he wants the monuments removed. [Associated Press / Jonathan Drew and Greg Robertson]
  • Durham police have so far arrested four people and charged them with disorderly conduct “by injury to a statue” and damaging property. [WRAL]

A bunch of CEOs severed ties with Trump’s business council

Olivier Douliery/Pool/Getty Images
  • One casualty of President Trump’s controversial comments on white supremacists? His manufacturing and business councils. [Vox / Alvin Chang]
  • Today, Trump ended both his manufacturing council and his strategy and policy forum after a mass exodus by business leaders that came after the president’s statements equating neo-Nazis and white supremacists to counterprotesters in Charlottesville. [WSJ / Emily Glazer, Sarah Krouse, and Jonathan Rockoff]
  • The first CEO to leave was Merck chief executive Kenneth Frazier, who resigned on Monday. Trump immediately attacked Frazier on Twitter, which ultimately ended up being very good for Merck’s bottom line. [Vox / Sarah Kliff]
  • Trump tweeted that he was formally ending both councils after one made the decision to disband on its own this morning. [ABC News / Adam Kelsey]
  • Trump's strong ties to business were supposed to be a selling point of his presidency. But this latest controversy just goes to show he's ruining those relationships. [NYT / David Gelles, Landon Thomas Jr., and Kate Kelly]
  • And at least one business leader, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, criticized Trump directly, saying his comments after Charlottesville were a missed opportunity to try to unite the country and instead created further divisions. [CNN Money / Julia Horowitz]

France’s honeymoon phase with its president is over

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  • When new French President Emmanuel Macron took office in May, he pitched himself as a fresh leader, with an entirely new agenda for the country. [NPR / Eleanor Beardsley]
  • And the young politician had the approval numbers to match, winning more than 65 percent of the vote, despite being a political newcomer. He was able to ride that wave through France’s parliamentary elections, with his brand new En Marche party picking up a decisive majority. [NYT / Alissa Rubin, Aurelien Breeden, and Benoit Morenne]
  • Oh, what a difference a few months makes.
  • Macron’s poll numbers have plunged to 36 percent in recent days, one point below the approval rating of French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe. [Bloomberg / David Whitehouse and Gaspard Sebag]
  • There are a number of reasons why Macron is faltering, but one of the biggest is a very public dispute he had with France’s top military leader, Pierre de Villiers, over the military’s budget. [Vox / Sarah Wildman]
  • Though Macron had initially promised de Villiers he would increase military spending, he soon proposed a cut in an attempt to balance the budget. [The Guardian / Angelique Chrisafis]
  • Macron’s wife, Brigitte Macron, has also come under fire after the president proposed officially making her first lady. (In France, unlike in the US, the wives of presidents don’t automatically become first lady.) There is concern among French taxpayers that the position will cost money. [Politico EU / Cynthia Kroet]
  • The fiscally conservative Macron is also facing criticism for tax cuts that would benefit the wealthy, combined with new cuts to public spending. [Vox / Sarah Wildman]


  • The Chuck E. Cheese animatronic bands of your nightmares could soon be replaced with a real live human in a mouse suit. [CBS Boston]
  • White nationalists who take genetic tests to see how white they are can be disappointed by the results. Then it often turns into a matter of disputing them. [Stat / Eric Boodman]
  • In Belgium, there’s a group called the “Global Brotherhood of the Knights of the Giant Omelette.” Their mission is pretty self-explanatory — all it takes is one gigantic pan and cracking a lot of eggs. [Atlas Obscura / Natasha Frost]
  • Apple has money to spend and is getting ready to enter the television market. [Recode / Peter Kafka]
  • New research shows another big gap between rich and poor kids: Wealthier high school students are more likely to be awarded good grades than their low-income counterparts, even as their SAT scores are worse. [Hechinger Report / Jon Marcus]


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