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Religious Leader, Digital Economy Advisers Sever Ties With Trump

  • VOA News

President Donald Trump boards Air Force One as he departs Hagerstown, Maryland, after holding a meeting at nearby Camp David with the National Security Council, Aug. 18, 2017.

The head of New York City's largest evangelical church has resigned from President Donald Trump's unofficial panel of evangelical advisers, one of the latest resignations in a string of high-profile withdrawals from advisory boards serving the president.

A.R. Bernard, head of the 37,000-member Christian Cultural Center, announced this week he submitted a formal letter to Trump on Tuesday announcing his withdrawal.

Tuesday was the day Trump gave a press conference from Trump Tower in New York City, in which he doubled down on his assertions that "many sides" were to blame for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend when a counterprotester was killed at a white supremacist rally

Bernard was one of a few dozen leaders, reports The Washington Post, who gave advice to the president through the White House liaison office. Other members of the advisory group include a mix of Southern Baptist and Pentecostal church leaders.

Several other members of the board, including Southern Baptist Pastor Jack Graham, the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference's Tony Suarez, and televangelist Mark Burns, told the Post that they plan to stay on the council.

Meanwhile the Commerce Department is also losing members of its board of "digital economy" advisers.

This week more than half of the 15 members of the expert board set up last year by President Obama resigned this week in the wake of the Charlottesville comments. Among them are Zoe Baird, president and CEO of the Markel Foundation; Mitchell Baker, executive chairwoman of the tech organization Mozilla; David L. Cohen, senior vice president and chief diversity officer at Comcast; and Microsoft president and chilef legal officer Brad Smith.

Earlier this week, Trump announced he had dissolved two business advisory committees composed of top American corporate executives, after at least seven CEOs announced they were resigning from the councils because of his remarks. Also, all 17 members of a presidential advisory committee on the arts announced their resignations in a letter on Friday over his comments about the Charlottesville rally, saying, “The false equivalencies you push cannot stand.”

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