The CEOs at America’s largest telecom providers — a heavily regulated group of public companies quite familiar with D.C. — wasted no time strongly denouncing the violence that erupted at the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon.
“What we witnessed yesterday was just a shock,” T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert told Yahoo Finance Live.
Continued Sievert, “Our first instinct when something big happens in this country is immediately to make sure our people are safe. And they were, we closed stores and secured some perimeters. And then secondarily, make sure our network is operating so that the public is safe and connected. After taking care of all of that, the next instinct is to speak up. I reached out to nearly all 80,000 of our employees yesterday to simply make it clear that we have to denounce things like we saw yesterday. People disrupting our sacred democratic processes. We need a different discourse and dialogue in this country, but we also need to move and turn the page. The people have spoken and in two weeks we will have new leadership. I hope we will have a new tone as well.”
T-Mobile rival Verizon Communications (Yahoo Finance’s parent company) also saw chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg strongly denounce the unruly situation.
“In light of the events currently unfolding in Washington D.C, the well-being of our V Team and customers remains our top priority. While we support the right for peaceful protests, we condemn the violence and rioting occurring in the nation's capital,” Vestberg said in a Twitter post replying to a repudiation of the riots by the influential Business Roundtable.
Vestberg also shared thoughts in a video posted on his Twitter account (below).
AT&T CEO John Stankey — who is on the Business Roundtable with Vestberg — echoed the sentiment of his competitors.
“We applaud all those who stood strong to thwart an appalling insurrection bent on blocking the peaceful transfer of power following a free and fair election. Freedom, democracy and rule of law are America’s bedrock and must never be usurped. We congratulate President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris on their Electoral College victory. There is much to be done to move the country forward,” Stankey said in a statement.
The group of telecom executives join a groundswell of those in the business community — a who’s who of big power brokers such as JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Trump supporter and Blackstone founder Steve Schwarzman — speaking out against the violence.
While business leaders band together at this delicate time for the country, the dominos are starting to fall in the wake of the jarring scenes at the Capitol on Wednesday. Some members of the Trump administration quickly announced their departures by Thursday morning, wanting no further part of the chaos in the final two weeks of the president’s term. Other defectors are widely expected to follow in coming days.
Meanwhile, businesses are stepping up their efforts to contain the president’s various propaganda. Facebook and Instagram said they will block Trump from posting for at least the final two weeks of his term.
“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a new post on his page. “Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.”
Online e-commerce site Shopify said it will remove the Trump gear it had allowed to be sold on its website.
“Shopify does not tolerate actions that incite violence. Based on recent events, we have determined that the actions by President Donald J. Trump violate our Acceptable Use Policy, which prohibits promotion or support of organizations, platforms or people that threaten or condone violence to further a cause,” a Shopify spokesperson told the folks at Yahoo Finance sister publication TechCrunch.
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