Jeffrey Immelt has a front row seat in the White House watching the way President Trump runs the country and observing his special brand of leadership. As the CEO of General Electric, Immelt is one of an elite group of business leaders advising the President.
“For the first time in my lifetime,” says Immelt, “a businessman is in the White House. That changes a lot, from the way he conducts meetings to the way he gets advice.”
So far he is encouraged seeing a CEO in charge. But when it comes to substance, Immelt is split. Speaking with Fortune’s Susie Gharib, Immelt shares his thoughts on some of the top policy issues for the Trump administration.
He praises the notion of lowering tax rates and eliminating deductions as “the right things” and “what should happen in this country.” But he calls the Trump tax cut proposal “kind of thin,” and adds, “we’re not counting on it happening.”
The political rhetoric about trade is a topic that frustrates Immelt. GE is a global company with 70% of its revenues coming from business operations in 180 countries. He makes a passionate case that GE’s exports of $20 billion actually create jobs for Americans and is good for the U.S. “GE is winning this game,” he says emphatically. He believes the American public has been misled about the benefits of globalization, confusing it with outsourcing and low wages. “In globalization, I’m proud of where we are,” he says. “There’s a lot we can learn from other companies. And there’s things other companies can learn from GE.”