Uber CEO Tavis Kalanick announced he would step down from Donald Trump’s economic advisory council in an email sent to employees on Thursday, a representative for Uber told to TheWrap.
“Earlier today I spoke briefly with the president about the immigration executive order and its issues for our community,” Kalanick wrote in the email. “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.”
Uber became the target of criticism as well as a boycott movement when Kalanick said he would continue his involvement with the new administration after Trump signed an executive order temporarily barring the citizens from seven mostly Muslim countries from entering the U.S.
“We’ll partner with anyone in the world as long they’re about making transportation in cities better, creating job opportunities, making it easier to get around, getting pollution out of the air and traffic off the streets,” Kalanick told employees in an email published last week by Business Insider.
As Trump was inaugurated two weeks ago, protesters gathered in front of Uber’s headquarters in San Francisco demanding that Kalanick sever ties with Trump.
A new hashtag, #DeleteUber, then asked people who oppose Trump to delete the app from their phones and use Uber’s main competitor, Lyft, whenever they need a ride. More general critics of Uber also used the hashtag to voice their complaints about the company’s labor practices and payments to drivers.
Representatives for Trump have not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.
Read Kalanick’s full email below.
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.