Following some serious user backlash, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced he will step down from his position on President Donald Trump’s economic advisory council.
In a memo to Uber staff cited by The Wall Street Journal, Kalanick reportedly wrote that his participation in Trump’s economic advisory council had been misunderstood as an endorsement. During the election, Kalanick was a vocal Trump opponent.
“Joining the group was not meant to be an endorsement of the president or his agenda, but unfortunately, it has been misinterpreted as exactly that,” Kalanick reportedly wrote. “Earlier today, I spoke briefly with the president about the immigration executive order and its issues for our community.”
Uber’s continued activity during a one-hour work stoppage protest by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance at John F. Kennedy International Airport last Saturday also drew ire from users, sparking a social media campaign to delete the ridesharing company’s mobile app. While the exact effect on Uber has yet to be measured, data mobile app analytics firm Sensor Tower reportedly showed that competitor Lyft saw its download ranking on iOS rise to number four this past weekend, up from number 39 the prior weekend.
Back in December, then-President-Elect Donald Trump met with Kalanick and Elon Musk, the head of Tesla. Both CEOs were to meet often with Trump and provide their advice and expertise to Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum. Executives from Apple, Facebook, Google and other tech companies were at the time expected to be present at the meeting.
Both Musk and Kalanick had been critical of Trump leading up to his victory. During the election, there was a contentious push-and-pull between Trump and Silicon Valley. The majority of tech leaders have been at odds with Trump since the beginning, against his free trade-limiting and anti-immigration stances.