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Top CEOs met to plan response to Trump’s election denial

Only a few of America’s CEOs have made public statements about President Donald Trump’s refusal to accept his election loss, but in private, many are alarmed and talking about what collective action would be necessary if they see an imminent threat to democracy. On Nov. 6, more than two dozen CEOs of major U.S. corporations took part in a video conference to discuss what to do if Trump refuses to leave office or takes other steps to stay in power beyond the scheduled Jan. 20 inauguration of former Vice President Joe Biden... The executives who participated... are from Fortune 500 finance, retail, media and manufacturing companies.

... During the conference... the CEOs agreed that Trump had the right to pursue legal challenges alleging voter fraud... But if Trump tries to undo the legal process or disrupts a peaceful transition to Biden, the CEOs discussed making public statements and pressuring GOP legislators in their states who may try to redirect Electoral College votes from Biden to Trump, said Yale Management Professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, who convened the meeting... The CEOs agreed that they had seen no evidence of widespread election fraud as Trump has contended.

... The CEOs decided to wait for the Nov. 20 certification of votes in Georgia before meeting to decide their next moves. Action could include threats to stop donations to political action committees or even corporate relocations, Sonnenfeld said. He spoke with six or seven CEOs... who said that if there were “seditious riots” at Trump rallies or more mass firings like Trump’s ouster of Defense Secretary Mark Esper and other Pentagon officials, they want to reconvene to talk about acting faster as individuals, Sonnenfeld said... The CEOs weren’t worried about reprisals against their businesses but emphasized acting together.

... “The votes have been counted, and the president needs to honor the result,” said Ryan Gellert, CEO of the outdoor clothing company Patagonia.

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