In June, 2016, I spoke to a group of chief executives and other senior officers from 129 of the largest public companies in the U.S. and Canada. My topic was “What Kind of President Would Each of the Leading Presidential Candidates from Both Major Parties Make?”
When I said that Donald Trump would be the most “problematic – even dangerous – candidate,” I got immediate pushback from about 15 of the executives. I explained that, if elected, Trump would view government employees – especially those he appointed to cabinet positions but also including the men and women elected as Republicans to the House of Representatives and Senate – as if they reported to him and worked for him rather than working on behalf of the citizens of the U.S.
That statement triggered angry comments, including one from a Fortune 500 CEO that I “get off” the platform and “get out of here.” Another man (representing a TV network) said, “If you thought you could have a career as a talking-head, it’s over.” Taking compassion, the moderator thanked me and dismissed me with 15 minutes left before the next coffee break.
What might those businessmen think now? I know that one of the most respected analysts in the field – George Lakoff of UC Berkeley – published “The President Is The Nation: The Central Metaphor Trump Lives By” in February and has just released a podcast that underscores Trump’s attitude. Please let me know what you think.