President Donald Trump is discussing the economy and the early actions of his administration with a group of the most powerful business leaders in the U.S., including some who say they’ll raise their concerns about his decisions to his face and others who he’s publicly needled.
Trump called the assembled executives “a group of world class leaders” as the meeting opened. They include Mary Barra, chief executive officer of General Motors Co., who has been pressured by Trump to move production from Mexico to the U.S., and James McNerney, the former chairman of Boeing Co., which Trump has criticized for the cost of its new version of Air Force One.
Other participants included Indra Nooyi, the chairman and CEO of Pepsico Inc. and Jamie Dimon, the chairman, president and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., both of whom are longtime donors to the Democratic Party.
“These are the biggest and best minds in the country and I really appreciate you being here,” Trump told them. Most of the meeting is taking place in private.
The CEOs and Trump were expected to discuss four or five topics, with some executives presenting prepared remarks on specific issues related to their industries. Immigration, particularly sensitive for the technology industry, was at one point to be first on the agenda. But Trump’s controversial action to halt immigration from seven mostly Muslim Middle Eastern countries has sparked nationwide protests and pushback from U.S. companies, including Nike Inc. and Coca-Cola Co.
Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk, a participant, said in a tweet on Thursday that he plans to express his objections to Trump’s executive order on immigration and suggest changes. “I believe at this time that engaging on critical issues will on balance serve the greater good,” he said.
Out of 17 executives participating, three were women: Barra, Nooyi and Ginni Rometty, the chairman, president and CEO of International Business Machines Corp. Blackstone Group chairman and CEO Stephen Schwarzman chaired the meeting.
“It’s really important that we mobilize the non-governmental sector and also that we do it on a bipartisan basis,” Schwarzman said in his opening remarks.