More than two dozen CEOs from U.S. corporations participated in a virtual conference last week to discuss a plan of action if President Donald Trump refuses to leave office. Several media outlets declared Democrat candidate for president Joe Biden the presumptive president-elect, but President Trump has refused to concede, alleging voter fraud and suppression.
During the video call that lasted over an hour, the CEOs established that President Trump had the right to pursue legal action alleging voter fraud, The Associated Press reported. However, if Trump attempts to disrupt the legal process or a peaceful transition of power, the CEOs examined the possibility of making public statements in order to pressure GOP legislators in their states who could try to influence changing Electoral College votes from Biden to Trump.
“They’re all fine with him taking an appeal to the court, to a judicial process. They didn’t want to deny him that. But that doesn’t stop the transition,” said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a Yale Management Professor who arranged the meeting. “They said if that makes people feel better, it doesn’t hurt anything to let that grind through.”
According to The Associated Press, Fortune 500 finance, retail, media and manufacturing executives took part in the video call. Sonnenfeld said the CEOs aggressed to participate on the condition of anonymity. Sonnenfeld reportedly speaks with executives frequently.
The CEOs decided to reconvene after the November 20 certification of votes in Georgia to discuss their next moves. Among the actions they discussed were threats to cease donations to political action committees and corporate relocations.
“They thought it could have a very devastating effect upon on markets, on public trust in the process,” and they would act “to make sure that the Republican elected officials do their jobs and and then be patriots and respect the process,” Sonnenfeld said.
Reprisals against their businesses weren’t a concern for the CEOs, but the group still emphasized taking action together.
The Business Roundtable, a group of the most powerful companies in the United States including Walmart, Apple, Starbucks and General Electric, released a statement following the virtual conference congratulating presumptive president-elect Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris.
The statement included the issues discussed in Friday’s video meeting, including the consensus that President Trump has the right to seek recounts and call for investigations amid concerns of voter fraud.
“There is no indication that any of these would change the outcome,” the group’s statement said.
While media outlets have declared Joe Biden the presumptive president-elect, states have yet to certify their election results and electors have not cast their votes. Per the Constitution, electors will cast their ballots on December 14. Both chambers of Congress will convene for a joint session on January 6 to count electoral votes, and the candidate to receive at least 270 of the 538 electoral votes will officially become president-elect.