“The presidential election has been decided and it is time for the country to move forward,” the letter reviewed by The Washington Post said. “ … The incoming Biden administration faces the urgent tasks of defeating covid-19 and restoring the livelihoods of millions of Americans who have lost jobs and businesses during the pandemic.”
Many of the leaders have previously been wary of getting publicly involved in politics, and some have been supportive of the president. Kathryn Wylde, the president and chief executive of the Partnership for New York City, which organized the letter, said questioning the national election was causing long-term damage to the country and that important issues such as vaccine distribution and high unemployment needed more focus.
The partnership — the major advocacy and political influence arm for the business community in New York — counts many of the city’s top firms as its members. Among the signers included leaders of Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, Pfizer, the National Basketball Association, Mastercard, Blackstone Group, BlackRock, Lyft, Deloitte, Warby Parker, Moody’s, WeWork, Ernst & Young, JetBlue, MetLife, Condé Nast, the Carlyle Group, Hearst, American Express, Saks Fifth Avenue, Price Waterhouse Cooper and Deutsche Bank, along with 150 more.
Others who signed include some of New York’s top private equity and real estate figures including Henry Kravis, Rob Speyer, William Rudin and Laurence Fink.
Much of the business community initially had a cordial relationship with Trump in the early days, coming to Washington for summits led by the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and son-in-law Jared Kushner, and maneuvering to influence the Republican tax bill. They were pleased with some of Trump’s choices for top administration jobs, such as Gary Cohn as his first national economic adviser.
But there was a significant rift after Trump’s comments in Charlottesville on the protests by self-proclaimed white supremacists in the streets, and chief executives withdrew from his business council. There was also considerable frustration with the White House for capping the state and local tax deduction as part of the tax bill.
Trump has taken particular joy in having close ties with some business leaders such as Stephen Schwarzman, chief executive of the Blackstone Group. Schwarzman did not sign the letter, but the president and chief operating officer of his firm — Jonathan Gray — did.