President Donald Trump's small dinner for business leaders on Tuesday night included an unusual type of guest for a president who is known to hold grudges: People who have publicly distanced themselves from Trump.
Specifically, five CEOs of major U.S. companies, who all publicly dissolved their ties to the Trump White House nearly a year ago this week. The break was prompted by Trump's public insistence that both protesters and white nationalists were to blame for a deadly white supremacist rally Aug. 12 in Charlottesville, Va.
Within days of the rally and Trump's comments, CEOs had resigned en masse from positions on specially appointed White House advisory councils. The councils folded, but not before Trump labeled the CEOs who publicly spoke out against him as "grandstanders."
A year later, and the damage that Charlottesville caused to Trump's relationships with business leaders appears to be healing, although there are no signs that the president's views about the rally have changed.
Indra Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo and Mark Weinberger, the CEO of EY were both original members of Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum, which was dissolved in the wake of his comments on Charlottesville. On Tuesday, they were on the guest list to dine with the president at Trump's private golf club in Bedminster, N.J.
In August of last year, Nooyi wrote on Twitter that she was "heartbroken" by the violence at the white nationalist rally. She also reportedly spearheaded efforts to dissolve the council, behind the scenes. Weinberger also spoke out in August of last year, calling the violence in Charlottesville "deplorable" in a statement that did not mention Trump by name. Representatives for the companies did not respond to questions from CNBC about whether their CEOs' views of Trump have changed since they quit the council.