Events have moved fast since Theresa May walked hand-in-hand with President Trump outside the White House.
Initial reaction to May’s Washington visit was positive: the PM had charmed Congressional Republicans, banged the drum for increased US-UK trade and held a successful press conference with the new President.
Hours later, however, as details emerged of America’s controversial new immigration policy, May was on the back foot and ultimately had no choice but to join the chorus of international criticism that has met the President’s order.
Meanwhile, senior US figures point out that the proposed travel ban is likely to cause lasting harm to US interests and will offer little in the way of additional security.
Alongside this political backlash and the protests springing up at airports and outside the White House, the reaction of the business world has been particularly interesting.
The instincts of many business leaders, particularly those in the tech world, run counter to the idea of walls, travel bans and ‘enhanced vetting’.
The corporate criticism of Trump’s latest executive order is both practical and moral. Apple has shared its concerns directly with the new administration while CEO Tim Cook has told staff in response that “diversity makes us stronger”.
Apple’s founder, Steve Jobs, was the child of a Syrian immigrant, after all. The CEO of Netflix has described the move as “un-American” and Twitter boss Jack Dorsey has condemned the “real and upsetting” human and financial costs of the order.
Airbnb moved quickly to offer accommodation to travellers caught up in the mess and Uber’s founder, Travis Kalanick – who sits on Trump’s business advisory board – has set up a multi-million dollar fund to help Uber drivers affected by the policy with legal fees. He described the policy as being “against everything Uber stands for”.
As Bloomberg’s Francine Lacqua argued in these pages last week, business leaders “need to speak out against Trump’s bullying”. She was referring to his broadsides against specific companies or business practices, but as the new US administration takes shape we can expect more vocal criticism of Trump’s broader policy agenda.
Politicians and business leaders alike are discovering just how different – and difficult – Trump’s America is going to be.