Editor's note: This post has been updated to reflect that Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter on Thursday evening that he plans to attend the White House meeting on Friday.
Faced with growing objections from his employees and customers, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is pulling back from his engagement with Donald Trump, announcing in a memo to his company on Thursday that he has quit his controversial role as a member of the president's business advisory council.
The decision to quit comes after Uber was hit by a wave of boycotts over the past week from users who took to Twitter to voice their displeasure, causing the hashtag #DeleteUber to become a national trend. With Kalanick out, pressure is now shifting toward fellow tech innovator Elon Musk, CEO and founder of Tesla and SpaceX.
Musk is not the only tech CEO who remains on the Trump council; IBM CEO Ginni Rometty remains as well. But Musk's status as a personal hero to many in the industry makes him an obvious focal point for the heat Kalanick had been feeling. Already, at least five Tesla customers who disagree with Trump's policies have canceled their vehicle orders in protest, according to BuzzFeed.
With the tech industry centered in the Bay Area -- a region known for its socially progressive leanings -- Musk and Kalanick and their companies came in for unusually strong criticism when they originally joined the council in December. They weren't alone. Other tech leaders, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, also faced sharp questions when they chose to meet with the president for a summit during his transition.
Tempers flared up against last weekend after Trump issued several executive orders clamping down on immigration, with one order that essentially singled out refugees and Muslim immigrants. Those orders led to widespread protests across Silicon Valley, and several influential tech leaders took part.
Many protesters cited the industry's longstanding dependence on immigrants and refugees to build great companies. Late Apple CEO Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian immigrant, while Musk himself is an immigrant from South Africa. In his memo Thursday, Kalanick specifically cited two of his own colleagues who came to the U.S. as refugees, senior vice president of business Emil Michael and chief technology officer Thuan Pham, as influential to his decision to quit.
"The executive order is hurting many people in communities all across America," Kalanick wrote in his memo to employees Thursday. "Families are being separated, people are stranded overseas, and there's a growing fear the U.S. is no longer a place that welcomes immigrants. Immigration and openness to refugees is an important part of our country's success and quite honestly to Uber's."
Musk has yet to comment since Kalanick's decision, but on Monday, he asked his Twitter followers to read the immigration order and offer specific amendments, saying he would "seek advisory council consensus & present to President."
Update: Musk addressed calls for him to quit the council in a note posted to Twitter Thursday night, saying:
In tomorrow's meeting, I and others will express our objections to the recent executive order on immigration and offer suggestions for changes to the policy.
Advisory councils simply provide advice and attending does not mean that I agree with actions by the Administration. I understand the perspective of those who object to my attending this meeting, but I believe at this time that engaging on critical issues will on balance serve the greater good.