Uber CEO Travis Kalanick says he has stepped down from US president Donald Trump’s economic council, Reuters reports.
“Earlier today I spoke briefly with the President about the immigration executive order and its issues for our community,” Kalanick wrote in an email to Uber employees. “I also let him know that I would not be able to participate on his economic council. Joining the group was not meant to be an endorsement of the president or his agenda but unfortunately it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that.”
Kalanick joined Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum on December 14. Other participating CEOs include Tesla’s Elon Musk, Pepsi’s Indra Nooyi, General Motors’ Mary Barra, and Disney’s Bob Iger. Kalanick is the only one so far to step down. (Musk, reached by tech site Gizmodo said that he plans to remain on the council for now.)
Kalanick’s decision to resign was initially hardly noticed, but resurfaced last week as Uber became a leading target of liberal outrage after a Twitter user accused the company of attempting to break up a taxi workers’ strike at New York’s John F. Kennedy International airport on Jan. 28, also noting Kalanick’s participating in Trump’s business advisory council. The tweet took on a life of its own, and #deleteUber was soon trending on Twitter.
In an attempt to control the damage, Kalanick condemned Trump’s immigration ban as “wrong and unjust” in a Facebook-post. He also announced a $3 million legal dense fund to help Uber’s thousands of affected drivers. But it was too little, too late. Although Uber refused to comment on the number of Uber-users who actually deleted their accounts, the number is rumoured to be above 200.000.
About Kalanick’s phone-call to president Trump, Business Insider reported that it was ‘disastrous.’ After Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s call with president Donald Trump last Thursday and decision to quit his business-advisory council, the sentiment within the White House, according to Mike Allen of Axios, is “If you want to cut off your access to the White House, f— you.”
That quote came to Allen from “some in Trump’s inner circle,” he reported. (Allen is deeply sourced within the Trump administration.). To be clear, Kalanick likely wasn’t literally told “f— you” during his call with Trump. But that’s apparently how the White House feels about Kalanick’s decision to distance himself and Uber from the administration after Trump signed an executive order last Friday temporarily barring citizens from seven predominately Muslim countries from entering the US.
- Kalanick turned his back on president Trump’s economic advisory council – but too late.