November 23, 2020

Corporate America’s deal with the Devil

Last week, 30 chief executives of America’s top 100 largest companies hastily came together in an online dawn meeting to discuss President Donald Trump’s unsupported claims that the US election had been “stolen” from him.

The executives were trying to figure out how to best leverage their personal and organisational influence to ensure a peaceful transition of power, a hallmark of the US political system. Some participants felt that worries of a potential coup were overblown. Others thought they weren’t. Most just wanted an end to election turmoil. Within days, other groups, like the US Chamber of Commerce, were calling for Mr Trump to stop delaying the transition. Business, as always, hates uncertainty.

Reading the news, I had conflicting feelings. On the one hand, I was glad that business leaders were thinking about the importance of liberal democracy in America and how to defend it. I also couldn’t help but feel that some of the corporate concern was a bit “too little, too late”. Most big business trade groups had been supportive of the Trump administration when it was getting ready to pass what turned out to be the largest corporate tax cuts since the George W Bush

Event could be ‘scaled down’ because of Covid-19

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden waves as he arrives to receive a briefing on the economy with his economic advisers in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., November 16, 2020.

Kevin Lemarque | Reuters

President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration events are likely to look different from past years in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus, his chief of staff said on Sunday.

Ron Klain said on ABC’s “This Week” that the Jan. 20 event is likely to feature “scaled down versions of the existing traditions” and may borrow from the techniques that were used to put on the virtual Democratic National Convention over the summer.

“I think it’s going to definitely have to be changed,” Klain said. “We’ve started some consultations with House and Senate leadership on that. Obviously this is not going to be the same kind of inauguration we’ve had in the past.”

The former vice president’s inauguration is scheduled to take place amid a surge in infections across the country. The U.S. reported nearly 200,000 new coronavirus cases on Friday and more than 177,000 new cases on Saturday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Well over 1,000 people are dying a day from Covid-19.

The change-up to the quadrennial