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April 14, 2020 11:30 PM, EDT

Trump Says Trucking CEOs to Help Advise on Economic Recovery

ATA President Chris Spear Chosen to Participate in Initiative
President Trump speaks at an April 14 Coronavirus Task Force press briefingTrump holds a Coronavirus Task Force press briefing in the White House Rose Garden April 14. (c-span.org)

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American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear is among the prominent business executives tapped by President Donald Trump to help revive the economy as the coronavirus pandemic shows signs of easing in some parts of the country. 

“They’re going to give us some ideas,” Trump said April 14 at a briefing in the Rose Garden, where he unveiled a sprawling list of dozens of CEOs from industries ranging from agriculture to defense.

Trucking companies identified by Trump included UPS Inc., FedEx Corp., J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. and YRC Worldwide. Those companies represent four of the top six fleets ranked on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.

Trump mentioned FedEx CEO Fred Smith and UPS CEO David Abney by name. J.B. Hunt CEO John Roberts III and YRC CEO Darren Hawkins will also be part of the administration’s Great American Economic Revival initiative. 

“I am honored to serve our president and the nation in this capacity, representing the trucking industry and joining four ATA member company CEOs, to bridge this crisis to a safe, speedy and full recovery,” said Spear. “Just as they have during the mitigation and response efforts, truckers will be at the forefront as we revive our economy’s engine and get our country moving again. No industry will be more vital, and we embrace the opportunity to play a leading role in this national effort.”

Trump mentions transportation leaders at about the 5:35 mark in this clip. 

Trump didn’t elaborate on how the leaders might shape the administration’s policies. Another CEO mentioned with strong connections to the trucking world was Doug McMillon of Walmart Inc., which ranks No. 6 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest private carriers in North America.

Trump’s list included a slate of executives from Wall Street:

  • Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone Group Inc.
  • Brian Moynihan of Bank of America Corp.
  • David Solomon of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
  • James Gorman of Morgan Stanley
  • Michael Corbat of Citigroup Inc.
  • Charles Scharf of Wells Fargo & Co.

Trump’s list also included:

  • Tim Cook of Apple Inc.
  • Darren Woods of Exxon Mobil Corp.
  • Satya Nadella of Microsoft Corp.
  • John Malone of Liberty Media Corp.
  • Oscar Munoz of United Airlines Inc.
  • Juan Luciano of Archer-Daniels-Midland Co.
  • David MacLennan of Cargill Inc.
  • Marillyn Hewson of Lockheed Martin Corp.
  • Kathy Warden of Northrop Grumman Corp.
  • James Quincey of Coca-Cola Co.

He named allies, including Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas Sands Corp., but also Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon.com Inc., who has been a repeated target of the president’s vitriol.

Trump said he would also be talking to executives and other leaders, including Richard Trumka, the head of the AFL-CIO, by telephone.

The groups that were announced April 14 didn’t appear to be the formal economic task force that the president has recently said he would form.

Trump has been eager to end economy-stifling social-distancing measures almost as soon as he announced them, though last month he extended them until April 30 on the advice of government health experts.

Many of those same health officials have cautioned that lifting restrictions on May 1 may be too soon. But Trump’s economic advisers have intensified their efforts to persuade the president that the country should reopen to stave off economic ruin.

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