This is spookily like the way our Local Enterprise Partnerships (and before that, the East Devon Business Forum) were created – with business people in the driving seat and councils as passengers without seatbelts!
“President Donald Trump met with a roomful of top CEOs at the White House – and says he tried to install other titans of industry on his executive council only to have them nixed as ‘corporate raiders.’
Trump met with a group that included Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan, BlackRock CEO Laurence Fink, retired GE CEO Jack Welch – whom he called ‘legendary’ – and other business bigs.
As if that weren’t enough financial firepower, Trump said that he tried to get other financial bigs onto the panel, which meets about once a month to advise him the economy, taxes, and regulations.
‘So many people have called – friends of mine in big business,’ Trump said, ‘and that wanted to be on the committee.’
Billionaire Stephen Schwartzman of Blackstone private equity firm, who serves on the council, acted as gatekeeper. “I said, ‘Steve, can we get so and so?’ Trump said, with the CEOs gathered around him.
‘Nope,’ Schwartzman replied. ‘What do you mean no, it’s big business, massive business,’ Trump pleaded, in his telling.
‘How about this one?’ Trump would ask.
‘He’s a corporate raider, these people don’t want to be sitting with corporate raiders,’ was Schwartzman’s reply.
‘He’s been very very selective,’ Trump said, adding: ‘We’ll be putting a couple more on this.’
Introducing the group, Trump hailed BlackRock investment company CEO Larry Fink for having boosted his personal bottom line through investments.
Trump displayed no reservations about asking some of the world’s most influential bankers about their preferences for peeling back bank regulations enacted after the financial crisis.
‘We have some of the bankers here. There’s nobody to tell me better about Dodd-Frank than Jamie, so you’re going to tell me about it, but we expect to be cutting a lot out of Dodd-Frank.
The White House billed the event as a strategy and policy forum.
The group’s official title is the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum. It has 16 members.
Absent from the event was Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick, who announced just hours before that he had quit, following pressure from consumers over Trump’s new immigration order.
Trump didn’t mention Kalanick during his public comments.
The Uber boss quit the council, even as the company is facing blowback for its decision to drop its congestion pricing during a taxi boycott meant to oppose the immigration order.
He made his decision known in an email to employees, where he argued against Trump’s new immigration ban.
‘Earlier today I spoke briefly with the president about the immigration executive order and its issues for our community,’ Kalanick wrote. ‘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,’ he added.
Trump hailed another attendee, his Commerce Secretary nominee, billionaire Wilbur Ross.
‘When I campaigned for office I promised the American people that I’d ask for our country’s best and brightest, and we have that. Wilbur is representing us,’ Trump said.
Trump said of close confidante and business magnate Carl Icahn, ‘Carl Icahn called up and he goes, ‘I heard you got Wilbur. Everybody calls him Wilbur. I’ve never heard him called – we just know him as Wilbur, right?”
Trump met the business honchos as he prepared to sign executive actions asking the Treasury and the Labor Departments to examine reforms to roll back regulations intended to make markets safer and protect consumers.
The actions would examine the ‘Volcker Rule,’ meant to curb speculation, AFP reported.
‘(We) believe that Dodd-Frank in many respects was a piece of massive government overreach,’ a senior administration official told the outlet. ‘It imposed hundreds of new regulations on financial institutions, it established an enormous amount of work and effort for financial firms.'”