'Lowest Level Of Corporate Support': Why Top Executives Shun Trump

'Lowest Level Of Corporate Support': Why Top Executives Shun Trump

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld

Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour

Last week, the New York Timesreported that business expert and Yale School of Management professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, "who is in frequent contact with corporate leaders, said most chief executives he had spoken to preferred" President Joe Biden to ex-President Donald Trump, "some of them enthusiastically and some of them biting their lip and holding their nose."

Sonnenfeld expanded on his assertion in a June 23 op-ed published by the Times, adding, "Trump continues to suffer from the lowest level of corporate support in the history of the Republican Party."

The Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute president noted that some "chief executives resented Mr. Trump’s personal attacks on businesses through divide-and-conquer tactics, meddling and pitting competitors against each other publicly."

The School of Management professor added that he knows this information because he works "with roughly 1,000 chief executives a year, running a school for them," which he founded 35 years ago.

Although Sonnenfeld noted, "Our surveys show that 60 to 70 percent of them are registered Republicans," he also emphasized that many of those same executives "rushed to distance themselves from Mr. Trump’s more provocative stances, resigning en masse from his business advisory councils in 2017 after he equated antiracism activists with white supremacists. Dozens of them openly called for Mr. Trump’s impeachment in 2021 after the Jan. 6 insurrection."

Sonnenfeld writes:

If you want the most telling data point on corporate America’s lack of enthusiasm for Mr. Trump, look where they are investing their money. Not a single Fortune 100 chief executive has donated to the candidate so far this year, which indicates a major break from overwhelming business and executive support for Republican presidential candidates dating back over a century, to the days of [former Presidents William Howard]Taft and stretching through [Calvin] Coolidge and the Bushes, all of whom had dozens of major company heads donating to their campaigns.

The Yale professor also noted that business leaders' "legitimate misgivings about Mr. Biden are overwhelmed by worries about Mr. Trump, version 2024," adding, "Trump’s primary conduits to the business community in his first term — more-reasonable voices like those of Jared Kushner, Dina Powell and Steven Mnuchin — are gone, replaced by MAGA extremists and junior varsity opportunists."

Furthermore, Sonnenfeld emphasized, "Chief executives are not protectionist, isolationist or xenophobic, and they believe in investing where there is the rule of law, not the law of rulers."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

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