Trump likely to face questions over travel ban in meeting with CEOs

Wed Feb 1, 2017 6:10pm EST
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By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump will likely face questions about his executive order restricting some travel to the United States when he meets with the CEOs of major U.S. companies at the White House on Friday.

Companies whose chief executives are expected to attend the meeting of the president's business advisory panel include JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N: Quote), General Motors Co (GM.N: Quote), Blackstone Group LP (BX.N: Quote), IBM Corp (IBM.N: Quote), Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] and Walt Disney Co (DIS.N: Quote), two officials briefed on the meeting said on Wednesday.

Activists are already pressuring the CEOs to raise concerns about the travel restrictions at the meeting, which comes at the end of another turbulent week for the Trump administration.

Trump's order last Friday, barring travel into the United States by people from seven Muslim-majority countries, touched off public protests and stirred unease among employees at many big U.S. companies.

CEOs have been faced with difficult choices to either criticize Trump's move at a time when they are trying to win White House support on tax and trade policies, or remain silent and take heat from consumers and employees dismayed by the order.

The Trump administration says the travel ban is aimed at strengthening national security. Backlash over the measure knocked the wind out of the post-inaugural stock market rally, although major indexes rebounded on Wednesday.

Trump's executive order put a 120-day halt on the U.S. refugee program, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely and imposed a 90-day suspension on people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Along with protests it has prompted legal challenges in the United States and drawn criticism from several leading U.S. companies.

Among those critics, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick wrote in an email to employees Saturday that "the ban will impact many innocent people — an issue that I will raise this coming Friday when I go to Washington for President Trump’s first business advisory group meeting."   Continued...

U.S. President Donald Trump announces his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to be an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria