More than 150 business leaders are calling on President Trump to concede the election, saying the stalled transition is hurting the country’s reputation and impeding efforts to revitalize the pandemic-ravaged economy.
“Every day that an orderly presidential transition process is delayed, our democracy grows weaker in the eyes of our own citizens and the nation’s stature on the global stage is diminished,” said a statement signed by 164 chief executives released Monday.
CEOs who signed the letter include Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon and Michel A. Khalaf, president and CEO of MetLife.
Separately, Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of the Blackstone Group, also called on Trump to concede. Schwarzman has long been one of Trump’s biggest financial backers.
“I supported President Trump and the strong economic path he built. Like many in the business community, I am ready to help President-elect Biden and his team as they confront the significant challenges of rebuilding our post-COVID economy,” Schwarzman also told Axios in a separate statement, adding that it was time for the country to “move on.”
The calls for Trump to concede comes as the administration has yet to start a formal transition process with President-elect Joe Biden.
Although the economy has rebounded somewhat since the pandemic lockdowns began, the recent resurgence in coronavirus cases has injected a big new note of uncertainty.
“America is being ravaged by a deadly pandemic with enormous social and economic consequences,” the letter said. “The attention and energy of public and private sector leaders should be entirely focused on uniting our country to fight the coronavirus, provide aid to those in need, prevent further business disruption and loss of jobs, and invest in our economic recovery and revitalization.”
The letter urges the General Services Administration to release funds to jumpstart the transition process. The agency’s administrator, Emily Murphy, has argued that she cannot do so because of pending lawsuits challenging the vote, although the vast majority of the suits have been tossed out of court.
While the biggest business groups have traditionally supported Republicans, both the Business Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce were quick to congratulate Biden the day after the election.
“While we respect the Trump campaign’s right to seek recounts, to call for investigation of alleged voting irregularities where evidence exists and to exhaust legitimate legal remedies, there is no indication that any of these would change the outcome,” said a statement from the Roundtable, which represents the most powerful CEOs in the country.