How corporate America is speaking out about the need for a presidential transition

CEOs are ready for the Biden administration.

How corporate America is speaking out about the need for a presidential transition

It’s been nearly three weeks since Election Day, and President Donald Trump has yet to concede.

Far from it, in fact. Trump is continuing his social media campaign of misinformation about the election and supposed voter fraud.

Despite recounts in Wisconsin and Georgia and failed Trump lawsuits in numerous states, Biden has secured 306 electoral votes, more than enough to be declared the winner.

Corporate America was mostly mum about the results at first.

Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture, was one of the first to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in a LinkedIn post on November 8, the day after major media outlets called the results. She was joined by the Business Roundtable. 

Now more than ever, I think of our nation’s motto – e pluribus unum – 'out of many, one,' Sweet said. This is the time to come together to defeat the pandemic and rebuild the economy for the benefit of all.

Yet as it becomes clearer that Trump has no plans to concede and Biden is set to be the 46th president of the United States, the country's business leaders are starting to speak out. Over the weekend, corporate leadership from companies including Boeing, CVS Health and McDonald's have congratulated Biden and called for an orderly transition of power.

Even Trump supporter and Blackstone chairman, CEO and cofounder Steve Schwarzman said Biden won and it is time to move on in a statement to Axios.

I supported President Trump and the strong economic path he built, Schwarzman said. Like many in the business community, I am ready to help President-elect Biden and his team as they confront the significant challenges of rebuilding our post-COVID economy.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon even took a rare step into the political arena during the retailer’s Q3 earnings call, telling investors, Congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden. We look forward to working with the administration and both houses of Congress to move the country forward.

Carlos Gutierrez, chairman of EmPath and former chief executive of Kellogg, said that in addition to delaying the handoff to the Biden administration, Trump’s refusal to concede is eroding America’s standing in the world, according to The New York Times.

“The absence of a normal transition, and a president determined to make some kind of a mark in his last 60 days, has created uncertainty and a worldwide sense of confusion,” said Gutierrez, a former secretary of Commerce under President George W. Bush.

Other executives have been less outspoken, but have started working with the incoming administration.

Last week, executives including Gap's Sonia Syngal, General Motors' Mary Barra, Microsoft's Satya Nadella and Target's Brian Cornell joined Biden and labor leaders on a call to discuss economic recovery plans. All four CEOs have spoken to, visited or worked with the Trump White House in the last year.

Biden told The Washington Post that he found the meeting encouraging as business leaders worked on a way forward.

“We talked about how we have an opportunity to come out of this stronger, more resilient than we were when we went in, Biden said. I wish you could have heard corporate leaders and the major labor leaders singing from the same hymnal here. 

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