This is what “Business Must Lead” means.
Update: Turns out, hours after I published this column, Trump was informed that most of his manufacturing council was going to quit. Bravo! But then Trump did what any spoiled eight-year old child would do: He took his toys and went home. Trump disbanded his two most prominent business councils, essentially firing the rest of his advisors before they had a chance to quit.
Five brave business leaders have quit Donald Trump’s manufacturing council over the past few days. And the world knows exactly who of the CEOs on Trumps various business councils remain uncomfortably sitting on their hands, hoping for a different news cycle, praying the current Trump-fueled circus will pass, sparing them comeuppance and consequence.
I’ve been saying it for years: Business must lead. And right now, it’s time for every single business leader to stand up and repudiate the man who can no longer be appeased. Monday he reluctantly read a statement that gave cover to his business appeasers. But Tuesday, in a truly unhinged press conference, he showed his true colors.
NewCo Shift calls on every single business leader on Trump’s various advisory councils to join Intel, Merck, Under Armour, the AFL/CIO, Tesla, and others in making a statement with their feet. There’s simply no justification left that history will not judge harshly. If you agree, please, amplify the #quitthecouncil hashtag. Let’s get the world to know that this won’t stand. That American business is fundamentally good.
You’ll be in good company. Here’s a sampling of statements from business and media leaders over the past two days:
Fred Wilson, legendary investor: If You Lie Down With Dogs, You Come Up With Fleas.
Larry Summers, former Treasury Secretary: Why Don’t All Executives Quit Trump’s Councils?
Aaron Levie, CEO of Box: “…these councils are bogus, and there is no intent to listen to members.”
Richard Trumka, President AFL/CIO: “I cannot sit on a council for a President that tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism; I resign, effective immediately… President Trump’s remarks today repudiate his forced remarks yesterday about the KKK and neo-Nazis.”
Kenneth Frazier, CEO Merck: “America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal.”
Brian Krzanich, CEO Intel: There should be no hesitation in condemning hate speech or white supremacy by name. #Intel asks all our countries leadership to do the same.
Marc Benioff, CEO Salesforce: (with his sarcasm filter on) Thank you @realDonaldTrump for calling to Love thy neighbor, value equality, & calling evil by name
The Wall St. Journal: A GOP President who loses the business class has a big problem.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek: Go Ahead, CEOs. Speak Out. Trump Can’t Hurt You.
Washington Post’s Right Turn, (the conservative opinion column): “It is morally reprehensible to serve in this White House, supporting a president so utterly unfit to lead a great country… Trump’s embrace and verbal defense of neo-Nazis and white nationalists should be disqualifying from public service.”
Twitter: #ImpeachTrump has trended worldwide.
New York Times: Trump Makes a Spectacle of Himself.
John McCain, Republican Senator: There’s no moral equivalency between racists & Americans standing up to defy hate & bigotry. The President of the United States should say so.
And just because it resonates in a strange and wonderful way: Clay Aiken, wholesome pop star: Remember all those times I defended @realDonaldTrump and believed he was not actually racist? Well… I am a f*****g dumbass. #imsorry
Hey, if Clay Aiken can apologize and quit the president, so can our business leaders. Get on with, corporate American. #QuitTheCouncil.