Handelsblatt Exclusive

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Wants Businesses to Resist Trump

Larry Summers, president emeritus of Harvard University, speaks during a discussion during the World Bank/IMF annual meetings in Washington
Picture Source: Reuters

Larry Summers, the former U.S. treasury secretary, has sharply criticized President Donald Trump’s economic policies and called on the American business community to stand up to the new administration.

“I am profoundly concerned about the direction of U.S. policy under the new administration,” Mr. Summers, who served under former president Bill Clinton, told Handelsblatt. “It seems to me that policy is moving in a reckless, nationalist direction in our international economic relations.”

Mr. Summers, who also led the National Economic Council under President Barack Obama, criticized Mr. Trump for making policy based on gut instinct instead of analysis. He said the president’s policies undermine the economic interests of the American people and American businesses.

“The degree of threat from our own government to our own interests is without precedent, certainly in my lifetime,” Mr. Summers said.

The former treasury secretary said he was disappointed with the U.S. business community for being slow to stand up to Mr. Trump. A meeting this week of Mr. Trump’s new economic advisory board, which includes CEOs of major companies, would prove to be an important moral test for U.S. businesses, he said.

“We will see whether that group will be willing to speak truth to power or whether that group performs primarily a function of legitimizing and cheerleading an administration which, at least in my view, and I suspect in many of theirs, is taking a number of dangerous steps,” Mr. Summers said.

Read the full interview in Thursday’s Handelsblatt Global.