In the aftermath of the assault on Capitol Hill, companies have acted to disassociate themselves from President Trump and his followers and have fired employees who participated in it. Facebook has suspended Trump’s account indefinitely and Canada’s Shopify has closed online stores linked to the Trump campaign and business. The publisher Simon & Schuster has stated that it would suppress the publication of a book by Senator Josh Hawley, a key supporter of Trump’s electoral denunciation.
Dozens of executives and business groups denounced the assault on the Capitol and have called for the removal of the president. Several companies have stated that employees have been laid off who participated in said incident after having identified them in photos and videos posted on social networks.
Goosehead Insurance stated last Thursday that Paul Davis, Deputy General Counsel, was no longer with the company. In an ’email’ to employees that same day, Goosehead CEO Mark Jones said that the company was “surprised and shocked to discover that one of our employeesWithout our knowledge or support, he participated yesterday in a violent demonstration in our capital ”. A spokesperson for Westlake, Texas-based publicly traded Goosehead says Davis was hired in mid-2020. On an Instagram account, a user identified as Paul M. Davis wrote that he was “peacefully demonstrating” last Wednesday. . The account, which was public until last Thursday morning, is now private. Davis declined to comment.
Managers at Navistar Direct Marketing, a printing company in Frederick, Maryland, saw on Twitter that a man wearing a company badge was among the robbers of the Capitol. After reviewing the photos, the company stated that the employee had been “fired for good reason”.
“We respect the right of all employees to a peaceful and legitimate exercise of freedom of expression, but any employee who have dangerous behavior who endangers the health and safety of others will not continue working at Navistar Direct Marketing, ”the company states. A spokesperson has declined to reveal the name of the employee in question. In most states, companies are free to fire employees, including for their conduct outside the workplace.
Ron Shaich, former CEO of Panera Bread and investor in many other chains who is involved in No Labels, a political group that support centrist lawmakerssays that managers have the right to fire workers who they believe have participated in illegal activities.
Carlos Santamaria *
“There is no freedom without limits”, he states, adding that if one of his employees had entered the Capitol illegally, he would have fired him. “I’m not going to tell you not to go to a pro-Trump rally and that you shouldn’t be in your company if you vote for Trump, but this is not the same,” he says. “As a society, we have to reject it. Not well”.
Dave Petratis, CEO of Allegion, a North American-based maker of security products in Indianapolis, says he supported a statement by the National Association of Manufacturers suggesting Vice President Mike Pence consider invoking the 25th Amendment to remove the president. “Downtown, the most sensible part of the US and the world they have to stand up and say: enough”, He declares, adding that the events of the past week make him want to speak up more. “It just motivates me and pushes me to action.”
Businesses may also have to grapple with an answer. The Lincoln Project, a group of anti-Trump Republicans and former Republicans, says it is planning to “a brutal campaign of corporate pressure“Addressed to companies, trade associations, CEOs and others who” act as funders of the authoritarian movement that stormed the US Capitol, “Steve Schmidt, political strategist and co-founder of the Lincoln Project, wrote in a tweet.
In an interview last Thursday, Schmidt stated that he was not prepared to list the specific companies that will be in the spotlight, but said the Lincoln Project believes there are many worth monitoring. “It is time to choose: the US or autocracy,” he said. “There will be a public debate around it”.
Rich Lesser, CEO of Boston Consulting Group, states that the business community needs to be clear about the behavior of President Trump, as well as those members of Congress who acted as enablers. “If we ignore these actions and treat them as an isolated event by hiring and supporting those individuals, we risk being accomplices at the time of promoting future actions that destabilize our country ”, he explains. Lesser has not suggested specific measures that companies should take, but states that companies have an important role.
More impeachment petitions from the president have been heard from groups as varied as National Nurses United, which represents 170,000 nurses in the U.S., and the law firm Crowell & Moring, which has around 1,100 employees. The Washington DC-based firm has urged other leaders and attorneys to add their support to the company document. “The president has proven to be inept for his office, and a reckless and deliberate threat to the Constitution that he promised to preserve, protect and defend,” stated the firm.
“If we ignore these actions by hiring and supporting these individuals, we risk being complicit”
Crowell & Moring Chairman Phil Inglima, Democrat, says that since the firm shared the document, he has known that many leaders of law firms of different sizes want to participate. It says that the firm, which has internal support of Republicans and Democrats, would send the document to Pence last week.
A CEO who has been a big donor to Trump says he was frustrated by the violence and he would have liked the president to disapprove more forcefully the actions of the assailants, although he also declares that Trump had been defamed by his opponents and the media during his term. The CEO says he no longer plans to financially back Trump’s future political ambitions.
There are other business leaders who continue to defend Trump and the Republican senators. John Lodge III, CEO of Lodge Lumber, in Houston, says he remains a supporter, personally and financially, of Trump and Senator Ted Cruz, who opposed ratifying Biden’s votes in Arizona Wednesday night.
Lodge says he thinks the assault was organized to make Trump supporters look bad. “I support anyone who supports the president and Ted Cruz,” he says, adding that he has a list of people who do not support the president and who will not get financial support from him in the next election, both Republicans and Democrats.