Carly Fiorina on how the business community thinks about Trump and its response to the pandemic


Carly Fiorina, former Hewlett Packard CEO, says not that many businesses are willing to associate themselves and brands with Donald Trump.

Video Transcript

CARLY FIORINA: Well, you know, it’s hard for me to speak for the entirety of the business community so I won’t try. But what I will ask you and the audience to reflect on is how many businesses are willing to associate themselves or their brands with Donald Trump. And it’s not very many.

You don’t see a lot of business CEOs going to the White House. You don’t see a lot of brands associating with this president in any way. And I think that’s telling.

The other thing that I would say is, yes, I agree that, generally speaking, fewer regulations are better than too many. Generally speaking, less taxation is better than more. But even in a time period when Donald Trump was lowering taxes and getting rid of regulations, economic growth in this country prior to COVID was not the best in history. It’s not that 2.3% or so is bad, but it certainly isn’t the best we’ve ever done.

And so I don’t think that our economy has been performing at full throttle during Donald Trump’s tenure. And I think part of the reason for that is because we have these longer term structural issues that we just have not been willing to deal with so far.

RICK NEWMAN: I want to ask you about how different sectors and different companies have responded and reacted in the coronavirus pandemic. Obviously, lots of pressure on companies and workers. And it may be hard to generalize in this regard, but do you like the way you see the business community responding to this?

And it’s very difficult if your cash flow is down by 40% or more to keep workers on board. But do you like the way the corporate world is responding, or do you see things that trouble you? And if it’s a mix of both, what do you like and what don’t you like?

CARLY FIORINA: Well, first, let me say– and it relates both to companies and how I see them behaving, as well as to politics– leadership matters. And character counts. It always does. But it particularly does in a crisis. And so what I’ve seen– look, I know how much companies contribute to better communities and a better nation every day. And they frequently don’t get the credit they deserve for it.

But what I’ve been really pleased by is I think companies have really demonstrated– not everyone, but most of them– have really demonstrated leadership and character. And they’ve done so by declaring right from the beginning the safety and health of our employees really matter to us. And they’re the most important things. And the safety and the health of our customers really matters to us, even when it hurts our bottom line.

And I think there are a lot of employees who really appreciate that and will remember it. And I think there are a lot of customers who will do the same as well. I do think that, in general, the business community plays such a vital role in the quality of our nation, not just the growth of our nation.

And so I would, as I always do, continue to encourage companies to make positive contributions, not just to the health and safety of their employees and their customers as they are, but also to the health and the safety and the unity of the communities in which their people live and work.

This is a time actually now when I think business has gained credibility through this pandemic. And so I think business can continue to step up and play a really positive role in knitting the nation back together and helping to address some of these longstanding issues.

You know, the thing that distinguishes our country from so many others is the strength of our civil society. Alex de Tocqueville commented on that a long, long, long time ago. And it’s still true. And businesses, of course, are the big players in civil society.

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