Elon Musk, Bob Iger Quit Presidential Councils After Paris Agreement Announcement
Two CEO advisers walked away from President Trump on Thursday.
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has quit two of President Trump’s business advisory councils after the president announced he will pull the U.S. out of the historic Paris climate agreement.
“Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world,” Musk said Thursday on Twitter, shortly after the president announced from the Rose Garden that he would begin the process of leaving the accord.
Musk had vowed to step down from the advisory councils he sits on if the president pulled out of the pact.
“I’ve done all I can to advise directly to POTUS, through others in WH & via councils, that we remain,” he said Wednesday on Twitter.
A few hours later, Disney CEO Bob Iger said he would also step down from President Trump’s business advisory council, protesting his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.
“As a matter of principle, I’ve resigned from the President’s Council over the #ParisAgreement withdrawal,” Iger said.
Both were among the 18 business leaders who served on Trump’s chief business advisory council, known as the Strategic and Policy Forum. Musk was also an adviser on the president’s manufacturing jobs initiative, and has met with Trump to talk about infrastructure spending.
All told, three executives have quit the advisory panel, which was established in December. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick left in February, under pressure after Trump instituted a temporary ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Top executives have been fiercely critical of Trump’s decision on the Paris accord.
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Microsoft President Brad Smith, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg all took to social media Thursday to express their disappointment.
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein sent his first-ever tweet on Thursday — and he used it to criticize President Trump’s decision to back out of the Paris climate pact.
“Today’s decision is a setback for the environment and for the U.S.’s leadership position in the world. #ParisAgreement,” he said.
The company confirmed to CNNMoney that it was Blankfein’s first Twitter post.
Musk has been under fire from the start for his willingness to engage with the Trump administration.
In April, a startup investor shelled out $400,000 to run ads in the New York Times and the Washington Post urging Musk to “dump Trump.” It was part of a $1 million bid to persuade the billionaire CEO that he shouldn’t work with Trump, given their sharp ideological differences, especially on climate change.
Until now, Musk had said he thought it was prudent to put his differences with Trump aside so he could have a seat at the table. This isn’t the first time Musk has publicly opposed the Trump administration.
Musk adamantly disagreed with Trump’s decision to sign an executive order in January that temporarily banned travel from seven Muslim-majority nations.
Despite his concerns, Musk decided to remain on the president’s business councils — even as Uber CEO Travis Kalanick departed amid public pressure.
“Advisory councils simply provide advice, and attending does not mean that I agree with actions by the Administration,” Musk said in a statement, posted on Twitter at the time.
Musk’s decision to leave is a bold move from a man who has a lot of skin in the game.
SpaceX has scored a number of lucrative government contracts in recent years. The company is currently fulfilling a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to send supplies to the International Space Station. It also has an $82.7 million contract to send a U.S. Air Force satellite into space in 2018. Last month, it launched a spy satellite for a U.S. intelligence agency.
In fact, SpaceX has an ISS resupply mission scheduled for Thursday night.
But transitioning the world sustainable energy is the crux of Tesla’s business — and Musk’s personal brand.
When Tesla starting accepting deposits for its Solar Roof in May, Musk reiterated his belief that the world is moving toward that widespread use of green power.
“That’s the vision for the future we think is the only sensible vision for the future — and the one we’re building toward,” he said.