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Trump's manufacturing council was 'wasted and useless,' AFL-CIO's Trumka says

  • The manufacturing council never met after it was formed and was being used as a subterfuge to try to get rid of regulations, Richard Trumka said.
  • Trumka resigned from the council last month after Trump's response to the deadly white nationalist rally in Virginia. Trump ultimately dissolved the group after several executives quit.

President Donald Trump's now-disbanded manufacturing council was "sort of wasted and useless," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told CNBC on Wednesday.

Trumka resigned from the council last month after Trump's response to the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump ultimately dissolved the group after several executives quit.

"It had never met since it was formed. They were using it as a subterfuge to try to get rid of regulations and say that was necessary for manufacturing," Trumka said in an interview with "Closing Bell."

However, while it wasn't a good tool to create policy, it did give the group a chance to talk to the president, he noted.

Trump also ended his Strategy and Policy Forum after news broke that the group of CEOs decided to disband and condemn Trump's response to the events in Virginia. The president blamed "many sides" for the violence that left one person dead and said "not all" the people participating in the white nationalist rally were bad.

'A good thing'

While Trumka has his disagreements with Trump, he called the president's decision to back a short-term debt-ceiling extension and government-funding measure a "good thing." They will be part of a package to approve relief funding for Hurricane Harvey.

Trump broke with his party in supporting the measure. Republican lawmakers had opposed the push to extend the debt limit and fund the government for only three months. Prior to Trump's support, House Speaker Paul Ryan called it "ridiculous" and "unworkable." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell later said he would support the package.

"I was glad to see that he doesn't want to shut the government down to pay for a wall," Trumka said. "I'm glad to see that he's trying to reach across the aisle and finally get something done that will be good for the country."

In August, Trump said he would be willing to shut down the government in order to get the funding for his proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexican border. He later backed off that threat, according to the Washington Post.

— CNBC's Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.