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    Monday, August 14, 2017

    US Business Executives Refuse To Stand Up To Trump

    It is appears that even leaders of the Republican party have more political courage than the current crop of business "leaders" in our country today. Besides the lone voice of protest from the African-American CEO of Merck, that deafening silence you hear is the rest of the business community's silence in the face of Donald Trump's refusal, once again, to denounce his supporters on the racist far right. At least a handful of GOP Senators managed to say publicly that Trump's statements over the weekend were totally insufficient and enabling the alt-right. No such equivalent has arisen in the business community.

    Yes, Trump finally came out today and made a relatively forceful statement but that was after two days of outrage over his refusal to do so. Today's words were the equivalent of a child being forced to apologize for abusive behavior and, when he or she eventually does so, everyone knows that it is not sincere. In addition, Trump followed up that statement of criticism of the far right by apparently floating the idea of pardoning the racist Sherriff Joe Arpaio.

    Kenneth Frazier, the CEO of Merck, resigned from the American Manufacturing Council, a presidential advisory council, saying, "America’s leaders must honor our fundamental views by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal." Of course, Trump's response to this resignation was to viciously attack the CEO, tweeting "Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President's Manufacturing Council,he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!"

    Of course, Trump could address the issue of high drug prices by asking Congress to allow Medicare/Medicaid to negotiate directly with the drug makers. But there is no chance of that happening. Instead, as he always does, Trump will do nothing to alleviate the problem, and blame everyone else instead.

    Besides Mr. Frazier, business leaders have condemned the violence and hatred in Charlottesville, but there has been almost universal silence about Trump's clear enabling of the far right racism. Tom Glocer, the former CEO of Thomson Reuters gave his clear support to Mr. Frazier, saying "Ken has stood up for true American values. I call on all other members of Trump’s image-burnishing committees to do the same." But you will note that Mr. Glocer is a former chairman and it appears that not many other business executives are heeding his call.

    A prime example of how cowardly these business leaders are is one executive who refused to be named who said "Just look at what he [Trump] did to Ken [Frazier]. I’m not sticking my head up." As Larry Summers said back in June, "At what point as a patriot is your allegiance to your country rather to your president? I’ve always thought of my allegiance as a patriot as being to my country." Too bad the rest of his peers in the business community have long given up on that concept. From offshoring jobs to massive tax evasion and/or avoidance to hoarding profits while screwing workers, the words "American" and "business leaders" have basically become an oxymoron.

    1 comment:

    1. A critically important point so eloquently summarized ...