The leaders of some of the country’s biggest and most influential technology companies — including Tesla, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Salesforce and IBM — today expressed what one CEO called "deep disappointment" with President Donald Trump’s Rose Garden announcement that the U.S. is withdrawing from the sweeping 2015 Paris climate agreement.
Within moments of Trump wrapping his remarks, making formal the widely expected decision, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted that "Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world" and severed his ties with White House business advisory groups. An Amazon Twitter account said the company "continues to support the Paris climate agreement and action on climate change." Google CEO Sundar Pichai tweeted, "Disappointed with today’s decision. Google will keep working hard for a cleaner, more prosperous future for all."
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post that the president’s decision is "bad for the environment, bad for the economy, and it puts our children’s future at risk.”
Microsoft, meanwhile, posted a statement by President Brad Smith, saying the company is "disappointed with today’s decision by the White House to withdraw the United States from the landmark, globally supported Paris Agreement on climate change." And Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff tweeted, "Deeply disappointed by President’s decision to withdraw from ParisAgreement. We will double our efforts to fight climate change."
Their objections to the White House’s move come just as the Trump administration is attempting to rally tech leaders to come to the White House on June 19 for a gathering focused on upgrading the White House’s use of technology, an otherwise bipartisan and largely uncontroversial topic.
IBM said today it “supported — and still supports — U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement.” But CEO Ginni Rometty will, the company said later, remain a part of Trump’s Business Advisory Council made up of business leaders from many industries. “IBM believes we can make a constructive contribution by having a direct dialogue with the administration — as we do with governments around the world,” IBM spokeswoman Rachel Thomas told POLITICO. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich told CNBC earlier today he will continue to engage with the administration even if Trump exited from the climate deal.
Some business leaders in the tech sector and beyond have pegged their willingness to participate in both large-scale events and more private roundtables organized by the White House to the power of having a seat at the table — contending that it’s only from there that they can hope to shape public policy.
For its part, Microsoft suggested that in this case, it’s now clear that strategy has come up short. "In the past few months, Microsoft has actively engaged the Trump Administration on the business case for remaining in the Paris Agreement," including meetings with senior officials in both the State Department and White House, the company said in a statement.
Tesla’s Musk said he no longer sees the value in staying in an advisory role with the Trump White House. He tweeted: "departing presidential councils," a reference to advisory groups he has participated in, including the so-called President’s Strategic and Policy Forum.
Trump has had a complicated relationship with the tech industry, which largely lined up behind Democrat Hillary Clinton during the presidential election. After his victory, the industry hesitantly approached Trump, who has been eager to seek its counsel — including via a high-profile gathering of tech leaders at Trump Tower during his presidential transition.
But he has since clashed with the liberal-leaning industry on issues like immigration and transgender rights. And Trump has been harshly critical at times of what he sees as the failings of some of the industry’s biggest companies and their leaders.