America'south top CEOs always had an awkward relationship with Trump

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Source:   —  August 17, 2017, at 11:48 AM

Even before top executives lined up this week to disown President Trump, the alliance between the president and some of the nation'south top business leaders was an uneasy one.

America'south top CEOs always had an awkward relationship with Trump

Even before top executives lined up this week to disown President Trump, the alliance between the president and some of the nation'south top business leaders was an uneasy one.

Several executives that joined Trump'south now-defunct advisory councils did so after they'd already expressed misgivings about him.

Stephen Schwarzman, the CEO of Blackstone and a Republican, referred to Trump as the "P. T. Barnum of America" in a two thousand fifteen interview.

And Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk had a ordinary reply during the campaign when asked on Twitter if he supports Trump: "No."

The implosion of Trump'south advisory councils on Wednesday serves as a stark reminder of these divides. Though many corporate leaders keep their discomfort with Trump aside to score a seat at the policymaking table, few lent their unconditional support.

That became very clear once Trump attributed violence at a rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville to "many sides." CEOs began dropping out of the councils until they collapsed.

Related: Stunning reproach for the CEO president

After the election, chief executives and huge companies offered Trump their congratulations and found common ground over their mutual desire to pass corporate tax reform and slice down on Wall Str regulations.

"It's our hope government leaders will focus on bringing the country together and pursuing policies to drive economic growth and work creation," Ford (F) said in a statement in November.

But cracks began to indicate not long after Trump formed the Strategic and Policy Forum and the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative, both of which brought together "some of America'south most highly respected and successful business leaders," the president'south team said at the time.

Trump'south Jan ban on travel from some Muslim-majority countries brought widespread condemnation. Many companies were caught off guard by the sudden executive order and had employees who were directly affected.

"We, of course, all wish to promote security and combat terrorism, but we believe it needs to be done with respect for due process, individual rights and the principle of inclusion," BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said in a note to employees at the time.

Jeff Immelt, the chairman of Common Electric, wrote in Jan that GE believes "these employees and customers are critical to our success and they're our friends and partners."

After that, the no of issues on which corporate leaders split from Trump started to pile up.

His decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement stoked sharp censuring, causing Musk and Disney (DIS) CEO Bob Iger to slice ties with the White House.

Next, tech industry luminaries voiced their disapproval for Trump'south map to stop transgender people from serving in the military.

"I'm grateful to the transgender members of the military for their service. #LetThemServe," Google CEO Sundar Pichai tweeted.

But Charlottesville was too much, compelling a wave of CEOs to create the scarce move of publicly rebuking a sitting president.

"Racism and murder are unequivocally reprehensible and aren't morally equivalent to anything else that happened in Charlottesville," said Denise Morrison, the CEO of Campbell Soup Co., after she resigned from the manufacturing council. "I believe the president should've been -- and still needs to be -- unambiguous on that point."

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