America's CEOs worried over Donald Trump's refusal to concede, plan collective action if he doesn't step down

America's CEOs worried over Donald Trump's refusal to concede, plan collective action if he doesn't step down
President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden (Getty Images)

President Donald Trump has remained adamant on his stand not to concede defeat against Joe Biden, claiming the November 3 election was rigged in favor of his Democratic rival.

The political gridlock has started alarming America Inc and while a few of the country’s CEOs have made public statements about the incumbent’s refusal to step down, many have expressed alarm in private and are discussing what collective action would be required if they see democracy facing a threat in the country, according to an Associated Press report. 

On November 6, more than two dozen chief executives of major corporations in the US participated in a video conference to talk about the future course of action if Trump refused to vacate the White House or takes steps to extend his stay in the office beyond Inauguration Day, which is January 20.


Biden was favored as the winner by a number of news outlets on November 7, leaving Trump and his close aides fuming. The president moved the court to challenge the verdict but has got no relief yet. He has also failed to produce any evidence that the election was rigged, something he and his supporters have been claiming. 

Trump apparently acknowledged Biden as the winner of the controversial election but refused to concede defeat. He tweeted on Sunday, November 15, again saying in upper case: “I WON THE ELECTION!” which was flagged by the social media giant and slammed by many. 



In the conference held earlier this month, the CEOs agreed that the incumbent president had the right to pursue legal challenges alleging voter fraud. But they also appeared in agreement over the viewpoint that if the Republican leader tried to hurt the legal process and hamper a peaceful transition to the Biden administration, they could make public statements and pressure the GOP lawmakers in their respective states who may try to redirect Electoral College votes from Biden to Trump.


The report cited Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a management professor from Yale who convened the meeting, as saying. 

CEOs feel transition will happen

“They're all fine with him taking an appeal to the court, to a judicial process. They didn't want to deny him that. But that doesn't stop the transition,” Sonnenfeld said, adding: “They said if that makes people feel better, it doesn't hurt anything to let that grind through.”

Those who took part in the video conference are from Fortune 500 companies (finance, media, retail, manufacturing), Sonnenfeld said but stopped short of identifying them since they joined the meeting on the condition that their names would not be revealed. Sonnenfeld often speaks with CEOs and takes up burning issues with them. 

A day after the video conference, the Business Roundtable — a group that represents America’s most powerful companies like Apple, Starbucks and Walmart, issued a statement congratulating the former vice president and his running mate Kamala Harris on their win. Though the CEOs respected Trump’s right to seek a recount of the voters and backed probe where evidence exists, the group said that there is little indication that any of the steps taken by Trump would reverse the outcome. 

Sonnenfeld invited Timothy Snyder, a historian from Yale University to address the meeting, according to the AP report and he spoke on the history of democracies suffering after elections and the possibility of Republican legislators altering the Electoral College result. This made many of the CEOs express concern over Trump's future course of action, Sonnenfeld added. 

There is no evidence of widespread electoral fraud in the 2020 election, as the Trump camp has been loudly claiming. Poll officials from both the GOP and Democratic Party have said publicly, backed by international observers, that the election went well and there were no signs of any irregularity.


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