"Not a single Fortune 100 chief executive has donated": Maddow debunks Trump corporate support myth

We're starting to "see a corrective in that narrative about what's really happening," the MSNBC host said

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Staff Writer

Published June 25, 2024 12:21PM (EDT)

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Faith & Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority Policy Conference at the Washington Hilton on June 22, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Faith & Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority Policy Conference at the Washington Hilton on June 22, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Monday debunked claims that large corporations and their executive are staunch supporters — financially and otherwise — of Donald Trump, a line the MAGA campaign has been pushing in the weeks ahead of the fast-approaching presidential debate between Trump and President Joe Biden.

Heading into the debate, she began, the press has told the public that financiers have turned against Biden on the basis of his record as an incumbent president. How could that be possible, Maddow asked, when we are presented with the "observable truth" of Biden's successes during his White House tenure?

"Under Joe Biden, we just had the best year of American job creation in the 21st century," Maddow said, before presenting a series of reports illustrating the Biden administration's wins. "The last time we had a streak this long of unemployment below four percent, it was the early 1960s."

Maddow also noted how the U.S. economy has flourished to the point of becoming the "envy of the world," even stabilizing the broader global economy. Additionally, the U.S. stock market is consistently shattering records, crime rates have reached a 50-year low, and Biden continually inks historic bipartisan legislation, such as his infrastructure initiatives. 

"This is the kind of business landscape — hellscape — that business leaders have been suffering through under Joe Biden," Maddow quipped sarcastically, before highlighting a few headlines that indicated how U.S. corporate profits have soared under Biden's leadership. 

The MSNBC host then addressed potential pro-Trump arguments grounded in a need for greater fiscal responsibility and debt relief. "Tell me what the rationale is there in reality," Maddow said, before displaying a recently published report from a nonpartisan fiscal watchdog group, the Committee for a Responsible Fiscal Budget. The report, which covered the national debt incurred during Trump and Biden's respective presidencies, showed that Trump added $8.4 trillion to the national debt compared to Biden's $4.3 trillion. The report even accounted for COVID-19-related spending; however, as Maddow observed, even eliminating pandemic funds would still show that Trump's spending was leaps and bounds ahead of Biden's. 

"Despite the massive spin generated by these high-profile, ideological Trumpy billionaires, we're starting now — as of today finally, I think — to see a corrective in that narrative about what's really happening," Maddow asserted, before displaying a recent New York Times front-page headline: "C.E.O.'s Are Frustrated. That Doesn't Mean They Embrace Trump."

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Quoting the Times report, Maddow said, "'A number of prominent figures in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street ... have grown increasingly vocal in their criticism of Mr. Biden, their praise of former President Donald J. Trump, or both. Still, that mostly reflects movement among executives who already supported Republican politicians...'"

"'There is little evidence of a major shift in allegiance among executives away from Mr. Biden and toward Mr. Trump,'' The Times piece continued. In a separate Times opinion piece, Yale School of Management's senior dean for leadership studies Jerry Sonnenfeld wrote, "Recent headlines suggest that our nation's business leaders are embracing the presidential candidate Donald Trump. His campaign would have you believe that our nation's top chief executives are returning to support Mr. Trump for president, touting declarations of support from some prominent financiers."

"That is far from the truth," Sonnenfeld continued. "They didn't flock to him before, and they certainly aren't flocking to him now. Mr. Trump continues to suffer from the lowest level of corporate support in the history of the Republican Party. Not a single Fortune 100 chief executive has donated to the candidate so far this year, which indicates a major break from overwhelming business and executive support for Republican presidential candidates dating back over a century."

The Rachel Maddow Show airs on Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on MSNBC.

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Gabriella Ferrigine is a staff writer at Salon. Originally from the Jersey Shore, she moved to New York City in 2016 to attend Columbia University, where she received her B.A. in English and M.A. in American Studies. Formerly a staff writer at NowThis News, she has an M.A. in Magazine Journalism from NYU and was previously a news fellow at Salon.

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Aggregate Big Business Donald Trump Jerry Sonnenfeld Joe Biden New York Times Rachel Maddow