As days of national protests have continued in the wake of President Trump’s issuance of an anti-refugee and anti-Muslim executive order, civil rights groups Muslim Advocates and Color of Change are demanding that the 19 CEOs who sit on Trump’s business council immediately resign their positions with the President.
The council, formally known as the Strategic and Policy Forum, consists of CEOs of major companies like PepsiCo, General Electric, Wal-Mart,Walt Disney, Boeing, Tesla, Uber, the Cleveland Clinic, and others to provide counsel to the President on business matters. CEOs of several of the companies have issued statements against the ban, but none have resigned their membership.
“Being a member of this council is an endorsement of bigotry,” said Farhana Khera, president and executive director of Muslim Advocates. “Writing a statement isn’t enough when the President is attempting to criminalize an entire religion. If these companies want to be on the right side of history and the right side of their customers, they’ll step down from this council immediately.”
Uber, having been subject to the #DeleteUber campaign, has faced the most grassroots backlash to its membership on the council. It’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, has denounced the ban but has stopped far short of resigning his membership.
Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove is also on the council even though one of his own employees, whose visa was sponsored by the Cleveland Clinic, was denied entry back into the United States after an overseas trip.
“Those who enable Trump and his bigoted agenda are no better than him,” said Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of Color Of Change. “These CEOs are selling out our country and its values, all to make a quick buck by having access to the President. We won’t mince words: any CEO who stays on this council is placing access to power over people’s lives, they are putting money over this country’s future. In this moment in our nation, we will not forgot those who remained silent and we will hold special contempt for those who used their access and power for profit.”