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Uber CEO Leaves Business Council After Criticism From Trump Opponents

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, shown here in December 2016, has left President Trump's business advisory board because of flak from the president's critics.

The CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick, has resigned from President Trump's economic council made up of U.S. business leaders. His resignation comes after a consumer campaign to boycott the ride hailing company because of Kalanick's association with the Trump administration.

In an email to staff, obtained by NPR, Kalanick said, "Joining the group was not meant to be an endorsement of the President or his agenda but unfortunately it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that."

Since Trump's executive order banning immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries came down last week it has sparked widespread protests. Many Uber customers were outraged when Uber lowered its prices while taxi drivers were on strike at New York City's JFK airport over the order. The price drop was perceived as a move to take advantage of the strike and draw business away from the taxis. Uber denies this was the case. But, it helped fuel a Dump Uber campaign.

In Kalanick's email to employees the CEO pointedly rejected any ban on immigrants or refugees. He wrote: "The executive order is hurting many people in communities all across America. ... Immigration and openness to refugees is an important part of our country's success and quite honestly to Uber's."

Trump's council is made up of some of the wealthiest chief executives in the country — among them: Mary T. Barra of General Motors, Robert A. Iger of Disney and Virginia M. Rometty of IBM.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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