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Yale Business Scholar: Fortune 100 CEOs Loathe Donald Trump

Donald Trump Public Domain

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, in a compelling piece for Time Magazine, pierces through the facade of perceived business support for Donald Trump, revealing a pervasive sentiment of disapproval among corporate leaders as the 2024 presidential election draws near. With a rich background as a Yale School of Management professor and an acute observer of corporate governance, Sonnenfeld offers an authoritative deconstruction of the myth that the business elite are rallying behind Trump.

Central to Sonnenfeld’s analysis is the clarification of Jamie Dimon’s comments, which have been misinterpreted by some as indicative of the broader business community’s support for Trump. Sonnenfeld emphasizes that Dimon’s remarks are an anomaly rather than a reflection of the norm. The reality, as Sonnenfeld meticulously documents, is that CEOs overwhelmingly disapprove of Trump, a sentiment starkly evidenced by the absence of Fortune 100 CEO contributions to Trump’s 2024 campaign efforts. This contrasts sharply with historical patterns of corporate backing for Republican candidates, underscoring a significant shift in the business world’s stance towards Trump.

Sonnenfeld’s extensive engagement with top executives over four decades underscores this profound disconnect. He notes a dramatic plunge in Trump’s support among major CEOs, driven not just by opposition to his divisive policies but by a fundamental rejection of his challenge to democratic norms—most notably, his baseless allegations of election fraud following the 2020 vote. The swift mobilization of CEOs in response to Trump’s claims, leading to a public statement affirming Biden’s victory and the importance of a peaceful transition of power, further illustrates the depth of their disdain.

Moreover, Sonnenfeld revisits the ethical and moral dilemmas posed by Trump’s presidency, highlighting instances where business leaders distanced themselves from his administration. The widespread withdrawal from advisory councils following Trump’s equivocal comments on the Charlottesville rally speaks volumes about the corporate sector’s broader repudiation of his leadership.

Sonnenfeld’s article is a clarion call, revealing the deep-seated concerns among America’s business leaders not only about Trump’s erratic policy decisions but also about the moral implications of his conduct. This collective disapproval, as Sonnenfeld articulates, signals a critical juncture in corporate-political relations in the U.S., reflecting a prioritization of democratic values and ethical governance over partisan allegiance.