Top CEOs tell the CEO president: You're wrong on Paris

Top CEOs to Trump: You're wrong on climate change
Top CEOs to Trump: You're wrong on climate change

General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt is not happy with President Trump. And he's not alone.

Dozens of top executives urged Trump not to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement. Now that he's decided to do it, many are voicing their displeasure.

"Disappointed with today's decision on the Paris Agreement," Immelt said Thursday on Twitter shortly after Trump's announcement.

"Climate change is real," he wrote. "Industry must now lead and not depend on government."

The criticism of Trump came from executives across many industries, and it was a sign of just how damaged the Trump brand has become, said presidential historian Douglas Brinkley.

Brinkley said the broad criticism of a president from so many CEOs, who by nature are cautious in their public comments, was very unusual.

"It's an absolutely bizarre and unprecedented moment in American history," said Brinkley.

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla (TSLA) and SpaceX, announced that he's quitting the president's business advisory councils because of the decision.

"Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world," he said on Twitter.

Related: The real story behind Trump's claim that Paris would kill 2.7 million jobs

Musk wasn't the only Trump adviser to walk away after the announcement.

Disney (DIS) CEO Bob Iger also said he will step down "as a matter of principle" from Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum, a group of business leaders who offer the president advice.

"Protecting our planet and driving economic growth are critical to our future, and they aren't mutually exclusive," Iger said in a statement. "I deeply disagree with the decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement."

Related: There is no boom in coal jobs

Trump's announcement even prompted Goldman Sachs (GS) CEO Lloyd Blankfein to post his first ever tweet.

"Today's decision is a setback for the environment and for the U.S.'s leadership position in the world. #ParisAgreement," Blankfein wrote.

The Trump administration has plenty of ties to Blankfein's bank. Gary Cohn left Goldman to become a White House economic adviser, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin worked at the company for 17 years.

Related: A coal mine is opening soon: It will create 70 jobs

In the run-up to Thursday's announcement, some executives used their positions to try to pressure Trump. Musk said he advised the president to stick with the Paris deal through White House officials and the business councils.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said he spoke with Trump on Tuesday in an attempt to persuade the president to keep the U.S. in the climate accord but "it wasn't enough."

In a memo to employees Thursday afternoon, Cook said that "today's developments will have no impact on Apple's efforts to protect the environment."

Related: Trump risks trade war by ditching the Paris climate accord

Marc Benioff, the chief executive at Salesforc, (CRM) also voiced his disappointment.

"Deeply disappointed by President's decision to withdraw from Paris Agreement. We will double our efforts to fight climate change," he said.

Microsoft (MSFT) president Brad Smith echoed those sentiments.

"We're disappointed with the decision to exit the Paris Agreement. Microsoft remains committed to doing our part to achieve its goals," he said.

Google (GOOG) CEO Sundar Pichai also weighed in.

"Disappointed with today's decision. Google will keep working hard for a cleaner, more prosperous future for all," he said.

Meanwhile, over on Facebook (FB), CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared his own chagrin.

"Withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement is bad for the environment, bad for the economy, and it puts our children's future at risk," Zuckerberg said.

In recent months, hundreds of companies have lobbied the Trump administration to remain in the agreement. Apple, Starbucks, Gap, Nike, Adidas, L'Oreal and Monsanto all voiced their support for the Paris deal.

Related: Female coal miners react to climate deal

Even oil companies like ExxonMobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX) gave their backing. Exxon CEO Darren Woods wrote Trump a personal letter earlier this month asking him to remain in the pact, saying it ensures the U.S. is "well positioned to compete."

-- CNNMoney's Chris Isidore contributed to this story

Personal Finance

CNNMoney Sponsors