Updated Mar. 15, 2017 at 7:47 a.m.

Finance execs, Duke economist tell Trump: Stop using Twitter

Published: 2017-03-15 00:01:00
Updated: 2017-03-15 07:47:11


Corporate financial executives have a clear message for President Trump: Cease and desist with the Twitter tweets. And a Duke economics professor agrees: "They create a lot of noise and uncertainty, which detracts from the positive things that can be accomplished."

They also called for Trump to not go off his teleprompter.

While optimism among corporate CFOs is at a 14-year high due in large part to stated Trump policies and goals, chief financial officers also were quite clear in their opposition to tweets, according to the latest Duke University/CFO Research Optimism Index survey that is being published Thursday.

A whopping 67 percent of those surveyed said Trump should quit Twitter.

Even more - 70 percent - said they preferred the president "stick to prepared remarks during speeches."

John Graham, a finance professor at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and director of the survey, said business executives have good reasons to be concerned about Trump's tweets.

"They might provoke trading partner’s and others to adopt an anti-US-business perspective," Graham said in a Q&A.

Secondly: "They create a lot of noise and uncertainty, which detracts from the positive things that can be accomplished."

Asked how he felt personally and as an economist about Trump's habit of going off script and tweeting at all hours, Graham said "I agree with the two [reasons cited].

"Also, when there is a lot of uncertainty, businesses enter a 'wait and see' mode," he added. "The tweets and off-the-cuff remarks contribute to this outcome."

On several occasions, Trumps twitter remarks have had an immediate negative impact on corporate stock prices, such as a recent criticism of pharmaceutical companies.

“CFOs are very clear,” Graham said in the survey. "They don’t like the fluctuations and uncertainty that result from how President Trump communicates to the public, but they say many of his ideas will be good for business, even some of the more controversial ones.”

Graham's preference for Trump to state opinions?

"Prepared speeches and policy papers that focus on the issues and substance of proposed reforms," he said.

"Speeches can be very persuasive," Graham added.

If Trump wants to continue tweeting, Graham suggested that "'boring' tweets would be fine if they reinforced this focus on issues and substance."

CFOs also have other concerns, with 64 percent opposed to a wall along the Mexico order, and 85 percent oppose any reductions in H1-B visas for highly skilled foreign workers.

However, 58 percent do support Trump's move to restrict immigration from certain countries.

More coverage

Watch a video overview about the survey at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5TeElDu_18

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