Dozens of CEOs distanced themselves from President Donald Trump last week, many taking an explicitly moral stand against the president for his heavily criticized remarks after violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.
But not all business leaders think the mass exodus was the right decision. Steve Odland, former CEO of Office Depot, argued on CNBC's "Squawk Alley" that business leaders should do their best to separate politics from policy, and should remain as engaged as they can with the White House.
"The business community drives our economy," Odland told CNBC on Tuesday. "All the issues that were in place when the councils were established still are issues before us today, and these CEOs need to stay engaged, but they have to stay away from the politics."
"CEOs have many constituents: Customers, employees, owners. And we as a country are split politically, and those constituents are split politically," Odland said. "So, by supporting one aspect of politics you're by definition going against some of your other constituents. You have to be very careful as a CEO."
While Odland stressed access over action, former Medtronic CEO Bill George told CNBC he's "proud of" the CEOs for their response.