GE CEO on disagreeing with Trump: 'We're cowards if we don't'

Immelt on his memos disagreeing with Trump
Immelt on his memos disagreeing with Trump

General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt says he tries to stay out of politics -- but he's found it necessary to speak out against some of President Trump's policies.

"I think we're cowards if we don't take a position occasionally on those things that are really consistent with what our mission is and where our people stand," Immelt told CNN's Fareed Zakaria. (Tune in to "GPS" on Sunday at 10 a.m. ET to watch the full interview.)

Immelt explained why he has come out against Trump's travel ban, his position on climate change, and his decision to build a border wall with Mexico.

GE has booked $300 billion in revenue from its environmental initiative, called Ecomagination, over the past 12 years. Immelt said he believes in working to help protect the environment, and that's why he spoke out against Trump's rollback of environmental regulation.

And as a multi-national corporation, Immelt said GE (GE) had to stand against the travel ban.

Related: Trump's formidable foe on immigration: Corporate America

"We have a lot of people that live in the Middle East. We have a lot of people that travel. It's my duty to stand up for them," he said.

But Immelt, a member of Trump's manufacturing council, doesn't disagree with everything the president is doing.

"In many ways I agree exactly with what Trump is doing," he said. He pointed to the White House's promise to pursue tax reform and infrastructure spending, as well as regulatory reform.

GE CEO on future of work in the age of robots
GE CEO on future of work in the age of robots

Immelt also has faith in where the economy is headed.

"I still think the U.S. economy is on a steady economic growth pattern," he said, adding that economies around the world are looking stronger as well.

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But he warned about reading too much into the rise in the stock market.

"When you go to Wall Street, it's ultimately going to be proven out in earnings of companies and cash flow more so than, you know, speculation of which law is going to get passed," he said.

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