Home > Uncategorized > Moral Leadership Demonstrated by CEOs Who Abandon Role As Advisors to President… Can They Show MORE Moral Leadership by Paying Their Fair Share of Taxes?

Moral Leadership Demonstrated by CEOs Who Abandon Role As Advisors to President… Can They Show MORE Moral Leadership by Paying Their Fair Share of Taxes?

I was heartened to read in today’s NYTimes that several CEOs rebuked President Trump by stepping down from his advisory councils after he shamefully equated the so-called “alt-right” protesters in Charlottesville VA with the peaceful counter-demonstrators who he branded as “alt-left” demonstrators. The President’s reprehensible defense of the demonstrations this past weekend led by Neo-Nazis, the KKK, and other White Nationalist fringe groups resulted in an erosion of his support by business leaders. As the Times article described, the business leaders to a person agreed to step down from the Advisory Councils they served on, with the only sticking point in their joint statement was whether to “condemn and disband” or just “disband”. Ultimately the decision was to “disband” based on Mr. Trump’s implicit support for extremist groups and allow each individual CEO to issue their own statements expressing the degree of condemnation they were comfortable with. Because of the protracted nature of their dialogue, the President was able to release a tweet announcing the disbandment of the committees in advance of the CEO’s announcement. But the CEO’s abandonment of support for the President was clear to the media. As the Times noted:

By Tuesday evening, a consensus had emerged among many of the chief executives on the policy forum. Having stood with the president in recent months even as he advanced positions they vehemently opposed, including tough immigration policies and withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate accord, many executives felt his apparent tolerance for white nationalist violence was a bridge too far.

And the Times also emphasized that this was unprecedented:

“In American history, we’ve never had business leaders decline national service when requested by the president,” said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a professor of organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management. “They’ve now turned their backs on him.”

While it IS heartening to see the CEOs of these corporations taking a moral stand in opposition to the President’s “apparent tolerance for white nationalist violence” it would be even more heartening to see them take a moral stand on behalf of their country by abandoning the practice of seeking tax breaks that result in the destruction of the safety nets and loss of funds needed to shore up the nation’s infrastructure, the practice of racing to the bottom on employee wages and benefits, and the practice of seeking fewer regulations that protect the environment and the safety of workers. When the CEOs make phone calls among themselves to accomplish THOSE ends, ends that  protect workers and the environment, we will know that moral leadership has been restored to the private sector of our country.

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