Uber CEO Quits Trump's Advisory Council to Protest "Extreme Vetting" Executive Order

Travis Kalanick explains his withdrawal in an email to employees.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Attends The Third Netease Future Technology Conference
VCG—VCG via Getty Images

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has withdrawn from President Trump's manufacturing advisory council. The news spread quickly on Twitter, and The Drive obtained a copy of the email sent by the co-founder to employees of the mobility company confirming and explaining his withdrawal:

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.

Last week, Kalanick shared his concerns about the executive order shortly after it was announced in an email to employees, and said the company will compensate any Uber drivers financially affected by the travel ban. However, Uber has been battling a #DeleteUber Twitter campaign due to a poorly timed tweet canceling surge fares on Saturday that was seen by many as an attempt to break the strike. Quitting the council—which likely will not come without consequences--may prove to the public that the founder doesn't support discriminatory laws.

Trump's manufacturing council is comprised of 16 technology leaders, including Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Dell CEO and founder Michael Dell, and Ford CEO Michael Fields, and is led by Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris. 

Elon Musk is also a member of the technology council, and has been facing a backlash on Twitter following his vocal support of Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State, which intensified after President Trump issued an executive order banning refugees and visa-holders from seven Middle Eastern countries. Fans of the Silicon Valley luminary have threatened to cancel their Model 3 reservations if he continues to participate in the Trump Administration

How the ride-sharing company will fare in D.C. following Kalanick's decision could be interesting, considering the notoriously thin-skinned president is more used to firing people rather than receiving high profile resignations.