Given recent news headlines, one could be forgiven for thinking that corporate America’s honeymoon with Donald Trump was over. Of course, not all CEOs are clashing with the president; one has just showered him with praise, despite public controversy still swirling over his immigration ban.
Like many CEOs, Under Armour’s Kevin Plank supports Trump’s plans to reduce taxes and regulation, which he says make the president “a real asset for the country”. Plank, however, also was prepared to comment on some of the president’s more controversial policy ideas, such as erecting a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
“He wants to build things, he wants to make bold decisions and be really decisive,” he told CNBC in an interview. “I’m a big fan of people that operate in the world of ‘publish and iterate’ versus think, think, think, think, think.”
The nature and timing of Plank’s comments are significant because they come as hundreds of CEOs this week condemned Trump’s decision—made with very little warning—to prevent people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.
“I just wished and hoped that we could do it all a little more thoughtfully,” United Continental CEO Oscar Munoz said of the travel ban. Munoz, who is Mexican-American, also criticized the border wall, on both moral and practical grounds. “I don’t know how you are actually going to build any kind of barrier that makes sense across such an incredible length. I don’t know how it’s going to help,” he said.
Tech-sector CEOs in particular have supported legal action against the ban; though, like Munoz, leaders from many other industries have criticized it, too. The executive order, currently held up by the courts, prompted Uber CEO Travis Kalanick to quit Trump’s economy advisory council after the ride-sharing app was targeted ferociously on social media.
Plank’s praise for Trump suggests he definitely won’t be giving up his seat on the president’s manufacturing council, despite Under Armour also encountering some customer blow back. “Bought my last pair of @UnderArmour running pants. Shame, they were good quality,” one customer wrote on Twitter after news of Plank’s interview responses spread.