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Elon Musk will depart Trump’s business councils because the U.S. is withdrawing from the Paris agreement

Musk, an advocate for the climate pact, followed through on his earlier threat.

President Trump Holds Listening Session With Business Leaders Chip Somodevilla / Getty

Elon Musk said he would cease advising Donald Trump on two White House-commissioned business councils after the president announced Thursday that he would withdraw the United States from a landmark international climate accord.

For months, Musk had been urging Trump to preserve the country’s participation in the Paris agreement, a pact to reduce global carbon emissions that the United States — along with roughly 190 other countries — adopted during the Obama administration.

But reports that Trump intended to withdraw from the agreement led Musk to express his frustration earlier this week, along with a threat that a change in U.S. policy would cause him to leave Trump’s advisory “councils.” That was a reference to groups like the so-called Strategic and Policy Forum, where Musk and other business leaders have been advising Trump since January.

And once Trump made his plans official, Musk followed through on his threat:

The issue is a difficult one for Musk. Like many in Silicon Valley, the Tesla founder had taken heat in recent weeks for even trying to work with the Trump administration. One aggrieved, former Tesla customer even targeted Musk in an $2 million national advertising campaign, urging him to “stand up against Trump,” while calling the president a “disaster for the fight against climate change.”

Musk, however, had maintained at the time that engaging with the president — even on issues over which they had great disagreements — at least offered him an opportunity to shape the White House’s agenda.

“I believe this is doing good, so will remain on council & keep at it,” Musk tweeted earlier this year. “Doing otherwise would be wrong.”

(Update, 4:20 pm PT) Disney CEO Bob Iger joined Musk on Thursday in resigning from Trump’s business advisory board.

Two other executives aiding Trump, however, said they would continue offering their advice to the president -- even though they supported the Paris agreement. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich affirmed he would remain on one of Trump’s councils during an interview with CNBC, while a spokeswoman for IBM CEO Virginia Rometty confirmed to Recode that she would do the same.

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