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Trump Paris fallout: Elon Musk steps down from WH councils

Trump Paris fallout: Elon Musk steps down from WH councils
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Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is following through on his threat to step down from his positions on advisory councils in the White House after President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump renews attacks against Tester over VA nominee on eve of Montana rally Trump submits 2017 federal income tax returns Corker: Trump administration 'clamped down' on Saudi intel, canceled briefing MORE announced Thursday that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

“Am departing presidential councils,” Musk tweeted on Thursday. “Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.”

 

On Wednesday afternoon, the tech billionaire tweeted that he made every effort to persuade Trump to not withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement and vowed to step down if the president did just that.

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According to Musk’s tweets, he had lobbied Trump for months for the U.S. to not drop out of the agreement.

The Tesla CEO endured heavy criticism from some groups for accepting and then not stepping down from his role on Trump advisory councils. Musk argued that it was important to be a part of the conversations with the White House, regardless of who is president, to help shape discourse.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick had previously stepped down from an advisory council in February, bowing to pressure from outside groups and vexed employees at Uber.

An IBM spokesperson said that CEO Ginni Rometty will not step down from her position on the White House’s strategic and policy advisory council. IBM has strongly supported the U.S. taking part in the agreement. Prior to Trump’s announcement to withdraw, the company reinforced its position with a blog post arguing the agreement's importance on Thursday morning.

"As IBM has said before, there is value in engagement," the spokesperson said. "We believe we can make a constructive contribution by having a direct dialogue with the Administration — as we do with governments around the world."

Earlier Thursday, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said on CNBC that even if Trump withdrew from the agreement — which Intel supports — he would remain on the council. 

"Here's my belief," said Krzanich. "Just like exiting the Paris accord and walking away is not a good thing. Walking away from the administration it is the administration of our country we need to engage. And what I'll do is I'll spend time in there talking about 'what are we going to do? How do we get back in.'"

Dell said that its CEO and founder Michael Dell would remain in his role on a Trump advisory board. A Dell spokesperson noted that they would continue to engage with "the Trump administration and governments around the globe to share our perspective on policy issues that affect our company, our customers and our employees." 

— This story was updated at 5:43 p.m.