The number of CEOs supporting new legal action opposing Donald Trump’s travel ban attempts has more than halved, with Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft among apparent abstainers this time around.
It’s not yet clear whether the companies intend to rejoin legal efforts at a later date. But their current absence may provide some comfort to the president, who has just suffered another setback in the courts.
It also shows there may be a limit to how far CEOs will risk the president’s ire, as they tread a fine line between expressing their own political values and respecting the diverse views of their customers.
On Wednesday, judges in Hawaii, then Maryland, halted Trump’s watered-down executive order, ruling that it still discriminated against Muslims.
A legal brief filed in the Hawaiian court listed the support of 58 companies, far less than the 127 that signed a similar brief last month. The new list includes Airbnb, Lyft and Dropbox but those now missing also include Intel, eBay, Twitter and Netflix.
The White House’s second ban may have gone some way to appeasing CEO concerns, given that it explicitly permitted current residents, dual nationals and other valid visa holders from entering the U.S. The list of countries covered by the ban also was cut to six from seven, after Iraq was excluded to improve relations in the fight against militant religious extremists.
Citizens from Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen would still be blocked from entering the U.S. for at least 90 days, while refugees would be subject to a 120-day vetting process.
The amicus brief, or “friend of the court” document, submitted by the 56 companies on Tuesday said the new travel ban would still cause “irreparable harm” to U.S. businesses and their employees.
American companies, it said, had long prospered through the hard work, innovation and genius of immigrants and refugees. “Never in modern American history has that infusion of talent and passion and creativity been stanched, as it is vital to the lifeblood of our country,” it said. “Never, until now.”