The CEO of German industrial giant Siemens has sharply criticized US President Donald Trump for a rally in North Carolina where he attacked four Democratic female members of Congress, saying the Republican president has become the “face of racism and exclusion.”
"I find it depressing that the most important political office in the world is turning into the face of racism and exclusion," Joe Kaeser said on Twitter.
Kaeser's remarks are the most prominent criticism from the business world in reaction to Trump's rally last week in Greenville, North Carolina, where Trump attacked Somali-born US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and the crowd chanted "Send her back! Send her back!"
The rally followed a series of racist tweets in which Trump suggested that four minority Congresswomen "go back" to their home countries. Three were born in America and all four are US citizens.
German conservative politician Ruprecht Polenz said Germany would have to take Trump back if such comments were serious. Trump’s paternal grandparents were born in Germany and emigrated to the US in the late 19th century. Trump’s mother had immigrated to the US from Scotland in 1930.
Kaeser, 62, started work at Siemens in 1980 and become CEO in 2013. He worked as chief financial officer of Siemens Microelectronics in San Jose, California, during the 1990s.
Siemens employs more than 50,000 people in the US and has 60 manufacturing, digital and research centers in the country.
Kaeser has demonstrated a willingness to speak frankly on controversial political issues. He pulled out of Saudi Arabia's Future Investment Initiative following the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
Trump’s comments about the four minority Congresswomen have also been condemned by the leaders of European allies, including outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“I firmly distance myself from (the attacks) and I feel solidarity toward” the women, Merkel told reporters on Friday.
“In my view, the strength of America lies in [the fact] that people from different (origins) contributed to what makes the country great,” she said.