WASHINGTON—When they are bound to tell the truth to shareholders, public companies across the United States say they view the Trump administration as a negative influence, revealing that the president's "business-friendly" approach has been unconvincing to businesses.
A forensic investigation into the 10-K filings of 380 public companies conducted by the Hedge Clippers and the American Federation of Teachers, released today, shows that when it counts, in official Securities and Exchange Commission filings for shareholders, firms say they believe Trump will have a negative impact on their bottom line.
Of the 380 companies that mentioned the Trump administration in 10-Ks filed in the seven months after the election (and prior to the president's statements on Charlottesville), more than half indicated they saw him as a threat to their business success, and 8 out of 10 said Trump was negative or neutral.
The report, "Corporate America to SEC: Trump Is Bad for Business," is significant because it reveals that companies' public claims of support for a "businessman president" who promised a business-friendly climate are no match for material concerns such as healthcare and financial regulations.
Last month, the president's business council was disbanded after members resigned en masse when Trump failed to condemn the white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members after Charlottesville. But the report reveals that, well before then, corporations were already jumping ship, even if some seemed content to ignore Trump's attacks on Muslims, immigrants and the environment in the hope of securing looser policies and regulations.
AFT President Randi Weingarten said: "This report is groundbreaking because it reveals what corporations really think of the president—that is, what they say when they're forced to tell the truth to shareholders in official filings. Despite their public statements to the contrary, it's clear that where it really counts—in 10-K reports in which they're bound by a duty to be honest under federal law—the 'businessman president' lacks the confidence of the business community. Only big banks and fossil fuel firms that expect a windfall from this administration—because of its public positions on Dodd-Frank and climate change—are solidly behind Trump. We knew that Trump was exploiting the anxiety many Americans feel and was further polarizing the communities in which we live and work; now we know that even before his business council disbanded he was causing alarm and anxiety inside the companies he is relying on to fuel economic growth."
The report's key findings are as follows:
- 193 companies (50.80 percent) viewed the Trump administration as a negative force on their business.
- 134 companies (35.26 percent) viewed the Trump administration neutrally.
- Only 53 companies (13.95 percent) indicated that the Trump administration's policies would benefit their business.
- The only industries backing Trump are the big banks, which are eyeing a $27 billion windfall from deregulation, and dirty fossil fuel firms, which are counting on Trump to eliminate regulations.
- Healthcare and pharmaceutical companies—27 percent of those surveyed—were anticipating damaging consequences to their business due to the Trump administration's plans to undermine and repeal the Affordable Care Act, plans which continue despite the failure of the Graham-Cassidy bill.
Click here to view the full Hedge Clippers report.