CEOs who want to get political ‘had better be good at it,’ warns Trump’s former chief of staff

Former acting White House Chief of Staff from January 2019 until March 2020 Mick Mulvaney
Former acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney attends the 2022 Web Summit on Nov. 2, 2022 in Lisbon, Portugal.
Horacio Villalobos—Corbis/Getty Images

Good morning.

I was back in Atlanta yesterday at the Hope Global Forum, where I interviewed Mick Mulvaney, former chief of staff to President Donald Trump. Among other things, I asked him his view of corporations speaking out on social and political issues. His response:

“I advise corporations that if you are going to get involved in politics, you had better be good at it. You better be at least as good at politics as you are at your business. Because it’s a nasty business.”

The bulk of our conversation focused on how to bridge the great chasms—political, social and economic—that now divide our society. He laid heavy blame on social media and cited section 230 of the 1996 communications act that frees social media platforms from the obligations of other publishers. He believes there is a good chance it will be repealed:

There are very few groups that don’t have any friends in Washington these days. China is one, corporate America is another, and Big Tech is the third.” 

In 1996, Congress was mainly interested in creating conditions that would allow new tech platforms to flourish and less worried about negative effects on society. Today, there is a more robust conversation about the social and ethical implications of emerging technologies. An example is a report out this morning from the folks at Deloitte, which asked nearly 2,000 technology leaders which new technologies had the most potential for creating social good, and they responded: cognitive technologies (A.I. and machine learning)—33%; digital reality (the metaverse)—14%; and autonomous vehicles—11%. Then the respondents were asked which technologies carried the greatest risk of social harm, and they answered: cognitive technologies—41%; digital reality—16%; and distributed ledger technology (crypto)—13%.

“Organizations developing and using emerging technologies now recognize both the potential for social harm and good,” Beena Ammanath, author of the report, told me. “However, we also found that the principles and frameworks to guide responsible and ethical decisions about how these nascent technologies are used are still lagging.” You can read the full report here.

Other news below. By the way, other CEOs attending John Hope Bryant’s Atlanta forum this year included Delta’s Ed Bastian, Pfizer’s Albert Bourla, Walmart’s Doug McMillon and PayPal’s Dan Schulman—a sign of their commitment to the forum’s goal of “empowering poor and underserved communities.”

Alan Murray


SBF arrested

Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried faces likely extradition to the U.S. after he was arrested in the Bahamas last night. Prosecutors from the Southern District of New York are this morning due to unseal fraud and money-laundering charges against him in connection with his stewardship of the now-collapsed FTX empire. Bahaman authorities said the U.S. had formally notified them that an extradition request was on its way. Fortune

Carbon border tax

Europe is set to institute the world’s first carbon border tax, so companies importing goods into the bloc have to pay the same effective carbon price as they would if the goods were produced locally under the EU’s emissions trading system. The idea is to avoid the EU’s climate efforts being undermined by offshoring and to incentivize outside countries to step up their own emissions regulations. EU lawmakers and national representatives struck a provisional deal on the mechanism this morning; it will likely come into effect in October next year, first targeting industries such as aluminum, cement, and hydrogen. Wall Street Journal

Tech war

China has filed a World Trade Organization complaint against the U.S. over its chip export controls. China may be standing its ground, but its complaint won’t go anywhere anytime soon because the WTO’s mediation process is—largely thanks to the U.S.—still hobbled by the ongoing suspension of the organization’s appellate body. Financial Times


China’s reopening is going to be a gas guzzler. S&P sees it sucking up 3.3 million barrels of oil a day, by Tristan Bove

Musk’s Twitter dissolves its Trust and Safety Council moments before it was to meet with the company, by Associated Press

Twitter resumes selling blue check marks to users after the previous try devolved into chaos, by Bloomberg

Jimmy Fallon, Justin Bieber, Serena Williams, and her Reddit cofounder husband among the celebs being sued over Bored Ape NFT promotions, by Chloe Taylor

Most U.S. kids still haven’t received a flu or COVID vaccine. It’s helping fuel a tripledemic that’s slamming hospitals nationwide, by Erin Prater

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer. 

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