In America today, dozens of American corporate execs tacitly embrace the murderous history of terrorism and the Ku Klux Klan by not forcefully urging President Donald Trump to apologize for the long eight years of his racist “birther” campaign. The president’s silence means that all remarks, tweets and press conference pronouncements he makes criticizing bigotry cannot be accepted at face-value and as honest.
Following the national outrage in response to the murder of an anti-Klan demonstrator in Virginia with President Trump’s biased remarks about demonstrators who peacefully protested Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazi and White supremacists in Charlottesville, several American corporate heads have left presidential commissions.
When candidate Trump finally acknowledged in September 2016 that President Barack Obama was born in the United States, Trump refused to apologize for the eight years of his Klan-worthy “birther” race/hate campaign against Obama, the Obama family and all African-Americans.
Trump’s campaign to the White House was born and flew on his “birther” platform. By failing to denounce the president for his refusal to apologize, every Republican in elected office around the United States, and business executives who embrace the White House, are tacitly embracing the violent and murderous history of White racism and terrorism that saw the murder of thousands, including four African-American girls who died in a Klan terrorism bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Selma, Alabama, in 1963; the 1964 murders of an African-American and two Jewish-American civil rights workers by Klansmen in Neshoba County, Mississippi; and the murder of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, 1968.
On June 16, more than 150 American corporate executives endorsed Trump in a full page New York Times ad titled “Skills for a Strong Economy.” Have any of these business leaders publicly repudiated the “birther” campaign and urged Trump to apologize?
We can show our support for tolerance and our dislike of the bigotry promoted by the president, his advisers, Cabinet and Republican legislators in Congress and beyond by boycotting the products and services their companies offer.
The signatories include numerous titans of American commerce and business: Doug Parker, chairman and CEO, American Airlines; David Taylor, president and CEO, Procter and Gamble; Oscar Munoz, president and CEO, United Airlines; Mary Barra, chairman and CEO, General Motors; Brian Moynihan, CEO and board chairman, Bank of America; Andrew Liveris, chairman and CEO, Dow Chemical; Michael Dell, chairman and CEO, Dell Technologies; Larry Merlo, president and CEO, CVS Health; Jeff Gennette, president and CEO, Macy’s; John Watson, chairman and CEO, Chevron; Brian Duperreault, president and CEO, AIG; Ajay Banga, president and CEO, MasterCard; Bruce Broussard, president and CEO, Humana Health; Greg Garland, chairman and CEO, Phillips 66; and Craig Menear, CEO, president and board chairman, Home Depot.
American corporate leaders can learn lessons from 1933 to 1945, when the Third Reich murdered 10 million people, among them millions of Jewish Europeans, Polish Catholics and Russian prisoners of war, hundreds of thousands of Romany and Sinti, and hundreds of thousands of physically and mentally disabled Germans and Austrians, mostly Roman Catholic or Protestant.
German corporations who used slave laborers and profited from these war crimes included titans of German commerce and industry: Volkswagen, Bosch Electrical, Deutsche Bank, Siemens, Thyssen Krupp and I.G. Farben, including their Bayer division, known to Americans for aspirin.
Yet the Holocaust did not have to happen. It was the silence of people who should have known better but who remained silent who enabled it to happen. Today, let’s hear a serious outpouring of dissent from our business leaders regarding President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. The birther lie must be addressed, fully, with a full apology from the president.
If the president is to have any credibility regarding national and global leadership, he needs to hear that his words and his silence on the birther campaign command worldwide attention.
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