White House

Business titans just huddled with Trump at the White House. Here's what they discussed

Trump: Very happy about January jobs report

President Donald Trump discussed trade, tax reform and immigration with some of the nation's top CEOs on Friday in the first meeting of his business council at the White House.

Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman, who chairs the council, told CNBC he saw "complete engagement from everybody in the room."

"We talked about tax, we talked about trade, we talked about infrastructure, we talked about women's issues ... we talked about jobs in terms of training people in technology," he said.

Other CEO participants included Tesla's Elon Musk, JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon, General Motors' Mary Barra, IBM's Ginni Rometty and Wal-Mart's Doug McMillon.

McMillon said that Friday's meeting was an "important opportunity to discuss the economy and job creation."

"I look forward to continued discussions with the administration, consistent with our longstanding belief that it's always better to be engaged in trying to shape solutions than sitting on the sidelines," McMillon said in a statement after the meeting.

The panel, which advises Trump on economic policy, convened without Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who stepped down from the group Thursday amid customer pressure over the company's reaction to Trump's executive order temporarily barring travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Before the meeting, Trump told reporters he would address the Dodd-Frank financial reform act and the banking industry with the group.

Schwarzman: Lower corporate taxes a prominent topic

Trump's discussion of financial industry rules came ahead of a planned executive order directing the Treasury Department to review the policy, which was passed as a financial industry safeguard after the 2008 crisis. Critics have said it discourages lending and holds down small banks with unnecessary burdens.

"We expect to be cutting a lot out of Dodd-Frank because frankly, I have so many people, friends of mine that had nice businesses, they can't borrow money," Trump said. "They just can't get any money because the banks just won't let them borrow it because of the rules and regulations in Dodd-Frank."

Trump added that "there's nobody better" to discuss financial rules with than Dimon, who became the bank's CEO at the end of 2005.

Before the meeting, Trump, flanked by Schwarzman and Barra, also touted his promises to slash corporate taxes and regulation, saying he hopes to see a tax program "soon."

Welch: Most exciting presidential meeting I've ever been in

Musk said Thursday that he and others will "express our objections to the recent executive order on immigration and offer suggestions for changes to the policy."

Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, who attended the meeting, told CNBC that Musk did talk about immigration. Welch said "there were several debates" about immigration and women's issues and "an enormous discussion" on regulation and job creation.

He added that executives were told that "clarity was coming" on the application of Trump's immigration order.

As she left the White House, Barra told CNBC the group had a "very constructive dialogue about a wide range of things" but did not say whether any executives disagreed with Trump.

— CNBC's Eamon Javers contributed to this report.

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