Aug. 16, 2017

Corporate Council Shut Down: No Profiles in Courage

Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen

America’s top CEOs never should have associated themselves with President Donald Trump – his reaction to Charlottesville is hardly the first display of his racism and intolerance – but after Trump’s meltdown on Tuesday, ongoing complicity has become untenable.

Unfortunately, the collapse of the CEO councils is not due to an outbreak of conscience. If the driver were conscience, the CEOs would not have signed up for the advisory councils in the first place, and all of those who did sign up would have joined Merck in resigning on Monday. Instead, it is public pressure – pressure for the CEOs to evidence a measure of decency – that is driving them off the councils. That’s not exactly the most inspiring example of moral leadership. No profiles in courage here.

Since the November election, corporate America has embraced and enabled Trump, turning a blind eye to his outrageous conduct and dangerous intolerance, in hopes of gaining regulatory rollbacks, tax giveaways and other favors. Now, belatedly, it is time for corporate America to say, “No more.” Corporate America must end its dalliance with a president who rationalizes and justifies neo-Nazis – and who may well aim to stoke a broad-based proto-fascistic movement in a desperate effort to save his failing presidency.

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