Ditching Trump is not enough. Here’s what CEOs need to do now.
For some business leaders, President Trump’s offensive reaction to the gut-wrenching incident in Charlottesville, VA marked a breaking point from any association with this administration.
They joined Trump’s advisory councils to make their voice heard on policy and regulation, assuming he would be a rational actor. But normalcy never arrived, legislation was never produced, and the council meetings became nothing but a photo op used to bolster the perception of the president’s legitimacy.
At the outset of the administration, CEOs wondered what would happen if President Trump used social media against them. Would their stock tank? Would their boards punish them? But by continually bending the truth and launching ad hominem attacks, Trump has damaged his credibility and alienated so much of the American public that it’s begun to dig into his base. There’s little bite left because there’s been so much bark. And the reputational risk of being associated with this president is now greater than speaking out against him.
There is a growing leadership vacuum for businesses to step up where the president has been absent. We shouldn’t undermine the significance of speaking out against policies like the Muslim ban or the events at Charlottesville, but companies should follow their words with clear actions.
Click here to read the rest of BPI Partner Ben LaBolt’s op-ed for CNBC.