Feb 2, 2017

Uber CEO quits Trump council

Adam Tinworth / Flickr CC

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick will no longer be a part of a council of business leaders advising the Trump administration.

Kalanick said in an internal memo obtained by Axios that he had spoken to Trump briefly "about the immigration executive order and its issues for our community." He also said that signing on to the council "was not meant to be an endorsement of the President or his agenda but unfortunately it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that." The news of his departure was first reported by Recode.

Why this matters: This comes amid public pressure on Uber because Kalanick's ties to Trump. That, along with what was seen by some as trying to break a taxi strike during protests about Trump's immigration order this weekend, resulted in many users deleting the application.

Timing is everything: The council of CEOs is meeting with Trump tomorrow morning. Kalanick had promised to raise his concerns over the travel ban with Trump.

Dear Team,
Earlier today I spoke briefly with the President about the immigration executive order and its issues for our community. 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.
I spent a lot of time thinking about this and mapping it to our values. There are a couple that are particularly relevant:
Inside Out - The implicit assumption that Uber (or I) was somehow endorsing the Administration's agenda has created a perception-reality gap between who people think we are, and who we actually are.
Just Change - We must believe that the actions we take ultimately move the ball forward. There are many ways we will continue to advocate for just change on immigration but staying on the council was going to get in the way of that. The executive order is hurting many people in communities all across America. Families are being separated, people are stranded overseas and there's a growing fear the U.S. is no longer a place that welcomes immigrants.
Immigration and openness to refugees is an important part of our country's success and quite honestly to Uber's. I am incredibly proud to work directly with people like Thuan and Emil, both of whom were refugees who came here to build a better life for themselves. I know it has been a tough week for many of you and your families, as well as many thousands of drivers whose stories are heartfelt and heart-wrenching.
Please know, your questions and stories on Tuesday, along with what I heard from drivers, have kept me resilient and reminded me of one of our most essential cultural values, Be Yourself. We will fight for the rights of immigrants in our communities so that each of us can be who we are with optimism and hope for the future.

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