President Trump’s business advisory council has one fewer member from the tech industry, following Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s decision to leave before its first scheduled meeting on Friday. In an email to employees on, Kalanick explained that he decided not to participate in Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum unit in order to quell rumours that he supports the Trump administration’s agenda and policies.
“Earlier today I spoke briefly with the President about the immigration executive order and its issues for our community,” Kalanick wrote in the email that an Uber spokesperson forwarded to PCMag. “I also let him know that I would not be able to participate on his economic council. Joining the group had not been meant to be an endorsement of the President or his agenda but unfortunately it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that.”
Trump asked Kalanick and Tesla CEO Elon Musk to join the council, following earlier appointments of CEOs from the finance, entertainment, and other industries. Kalanick’s departure leaves Musk and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty among the only tech industry representatives on the panel. Tesla and IBM did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Kalanick said his decision to quit the council would allow Uber to better advocate for immigration reform. “There are many ways we will continue to advocate for just change on immigration but staying on the council is going to get in the way of that,” he wrote.
The move comes after Uber took heat on social media for dropping surge pricing and allowing drivers to pick up passengers during a planned taxi strike at JFK following Trump’s signing of his executive order on immigration. #DeleteUberon Twitter, with people deleting the app and signing up for alternatives like Lyft.
Musk, meanwhile,to offer specific suggestions to amend the order, which he promised to bring to Trump.