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Travis Kalanick leaves President Trump’s advisory council

The car-sharing service had faced criticism for trying to work with the new administration.

Travis Kalanick is leaving President Donald Trump's advisory council, according to a memo he sent to employees today.

The Uber CEO had faced criticism for his agreement to work closely with the Trump administration, as well as the company's response to the White House's recent travel ban.

A recent social media meme, #DeleteUber, had erupted online after some thought the car-sharing service had tried to make bank over the weekend in San Francisco related to protests taking place at San Francisco International Airport. Uber said it was not, and has since apologized for any misunderstanding, but the consumer backlash had continued.

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That said, in a memo that Kalanick sent to Uber's staff, he focused on issue that the company had with the ban against refugees and travel from seven Muslim countries and the implication that being on the council was a tacit endorsement of the policy.

"Joining the group was not meant to be an endorsement of the President or his agenda but unfortunately it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that," wrote Kalanick. "There are many ways we will continue to advocate for just change on immigration but staying on the council was going to get in the way of that."

Tech company leaders, in particular, have become more vocal in expressing opposition to the move, which many consider ill-conceived and wrong-headed. Their recent outspokenness against Trump's actions are in contrast to initial efforts to cooperate.

The big question is who else will quit the council, with most focusing falling on SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. He has also received a lot of online criticism for being on it.

Here's the letter Kalanick sent employees, which seems quite sincere to me, also though some continue to be wary of the motives of Uber and also of Kalanick for leaving the council.

For those who opposed Uber being on the council, perhaps it's just best to declare a victory and move onto the next fight:

Dear Team,

Earlier today I spoke briefly with the President about the immigration executive order and its issues for our community. I also let him know that I would not be able to participate on his economic council. Joining the group was not meant to be an endorsement of the President or his agenda but unfortunately it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that.

I spent a lot of time thinking about this and mapping it to our values. There are a couple that are particularly relevant:

Inside Out - The implicit assumption that Uber (or I) was somehow endorsing the Administration's agenda has created a perception-reality gap between who people think we are, and who we actually are.

Just Change - We must believe that the actions we take ultimately move the ball forward. There are many ways we will continue to advocate for just change on immigration but staying on the council was going to get in the way of that. The executive order is hurting many people in communities all across America. Families are being separated, people are stranded overseas and there's a growing fear the U.S. is no longer a place that welcomes immigrants.

Immigration and openness to refugees is an important part of our country's success and quite honestly to Uber's. I am incredibly proud to work directly with people like Thuan and Emil, both of whom were refugees who came here to build a better life for themselves. I know it has been a tough week for many of you and your families, as well as many thousands of drivers whose stories are heartfelt and heart-wrenching.

Please know, your questions and stories on Tuesday, along with what I heard from drivers, have kept me resilient and reminded me of one of our most essential cultural values, Be Yourself. We will fight for the rights of immigrants in our communities so that each of us can be who we are with optimism and hope for the future.

Here's my tweet on the news from earlier today:


By Kara Swisher, Recode.net.

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