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Andrew Puzder: CEOs are 'shortsighted' leaving Trump's special councils

  • Andy Puzder, President Donald Trump's former secretary of Labor pick, says CEOs are acting "shortsighted" by leaving Trump's special councils.
  • "Don't give up your seat at the table," he says. "If you have a chance to influence policy, don't give up or walk away or let people drive you out of the room."

Andy Puzder, President Donald Trump's former pick for secretary of Labor, said Wednesday that CEOs are acting "shortsighted" by leaving Trump's special councils.

"Don't give up your seat at the table. If you have a chance to influence policy, don't give up or walk away or let people drive you out of the room," the former chief executive of CKE Restaurants said on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."

Several members of Trump's special councils resigned this week after the president's comments about white supremacists in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Trump explicitly condemned white supremacists and "racist" violence on Monday, two days after he criticized hatred and violence "on many sides" without specifically denouncing white supremacist groups.

At a heated news conference Tuesday, Trump doubled down on his initial response, blaming "both sides."

The president is "very open to other people's opinions," Puzder said. "If you make a convincing argument, this president is willing to listen." It's very important for CEOs to "get in there and state their 2 cents," he said.

Puzder said he was "very happy" with JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon expressing frustration at the federal government last month.

"This was very positive. I think two years ago Jamie Dimon would have never made that statement," he said.

Puzder added the councils are also working on very important initiatives.

"The councils are set up to increase economic growth, to increase jobs. We're working on tax reform, regulatory reform. All the things that make a difference to American businesses and I think it's a little shortsighted to pull out," he said.

Puzder said at the moment, he's more concerned about Trump's legislative agenda.

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