In the aftermath of the presidency of Donald Trump, those who played roles in his administration’s subversion of democracy and its most egregious abuses of power are now seeking new work. A new campaign from American Oversight and Accountable.US is warning companies against letting senior Trump administration officials launder their reputations by taking refuge in corporate boardrooms.
The Campaign Against Corporate Complicity, launched on Tuesday, seeks to prevent the normalization of the Trump administration’s most damaging policies and rhetoric. Trump’s dangerous lies incited a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and undermined faith in our democratic elections, his incendiary rhetoric empowered white supremacists and targeted peaceful protesters, and his administration’s policies and negligence led to the separation of immigrant families and a catastrophic and tragic pandemic death toll.
“Over the course of four years, Donald Trump amassed a record of cruelty, ineptitude, and unprecedented harm to public health and national security, but he did not do it alone,” said Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight.
As Trump faces a second impeachment trial for his unprecedented abuses of office, outlets have reported that former top officials are having trouble finding new employers who will turn a blind eye to their involvement in a historically corrupt administration. Many will undoubtedly approach companies, selling their government experience as a qualification rather than a disgrace. They should not be able to land well-paid consultancy gigs, executive and leadership positions, book deals, or speaking engagements without being fully vetted to determine whether — and to what extent — they participated in enabling, crafting, implementing, or defending the administration’s cruel, undemocratic, and dangerous actions.
The Campaign Against Corporate Complicity kicked off today with a direct appeal to Fortune 500 CEOs, asking that they not welcome high-ranking Trump administration officials into their boardrooms or corner offices.
“The people that companies hire reflect their corporate values. If companies hire senior-level officials that engaged in Trump’s attempts to undermine and violate the rule of law, they are complicit in the cruel, undemocratic, and dangerous policies and rhetoric of his administration,” said Accountable.US President Kyle Herrig. “Corporations are America’s first line of defense against normalizing hate and misconduct, and we’ll be watching to see whether they choose to be complicit.”
The campaign will call on CEOs of major companies, media organizations, publishing houses, and public speaking firms to avoid normalizing the harmful policies that senior-level Trump administration officials helped implement — including many policies that these CEOs spoke out against.
“Trump’s abuses were aided and implemented by scores of individuals who leave behind them a paper trail of complicity,” added Evers. “The scramble to cancel political donations in the wake of Jan. 6 shows corporate America clearly recognizes that values statements are meaningless without action. As the architects of family separation and Trump’s assault on our democracy go looking to reinvent their resumes, America’s business leaders must live up to their values.”
Accountability must play a central role in repairing the damage caused by the former president and his top officials. American Oversight will continue to unearth that paper trail of complicity in the months to come, including by investigating attacks to democracy and voting rights at the state and local levels and by seeking answers to the numerous open questions that exist about the Trump administration and its policies.