The American Conservative Union, which organizes the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), called out American Express for its critical race theory training and its hard-line stance against Republicans who contested the results of the 2020 election, warning that it would exert its sizable political influence against the company unless it reverses course.
"We write to you on behalf of millions of Americans to warn you that ACU will be hostile to your public policy goals in every federal and state legislative body through our scoring of every lawmaker in America," ACU warned American Express CEO Stephen Squeri in a letter exclusively provided to FOX Business on Wednesday. The American Conservative Union laid out three demands: that AmEx renounce "racist CRT ideologies"; that it reverse course on election issues; and that it give "pro-America voices" equal time in front of its employees.
"When you do CRT training, you are playing a large role in ripping America apart," ACU Chairman Matt Schlapp told FOX Business in an interview. Such trainings "make White straight Christian male employees apologize for being White, straight, male and Christian."
"You're not allowed to discriminate based on someone's skin color, including White people," Schlapp remarked, noting federal anti-discrimination laws. "That's alive and well in too many corporate offices."
Last week, Christopher Rufo, a senior fellow at The Manhattan Institute, revealed that AmEx had subjected its employees to a training program based on CRT tenets, including intersectionality, which categorizes people as "oppressors" or "oppressed" based on racial, gender, sexual and other identities.
The training sessions encouraged employees to rank themselves to determine their levels of "privilege" and it urged White employees to avoid certain phrases and to defer to Black co-workers, essentially creating a hierarchy in the workplace. AmEx also brought in a speaker who condemned capitalism as racist and who suggested that AmEx employees should cut corners to help Black customers.
In the letter, ACU ironically thanked American Express for "giving us one of the best examples of hypocrisy we have ever witnessed among woke capitalists."
"We understand that you are under immense pressure to cave to the woke dogma of a radical, socialist bloc of political operatives. But your instinct for personal survival has led you to legitimize a movement that seeks to destroy the American values that make AmEx’s success possible. Marxism is dangerous and America’s business leaders have a responsibility to denounce it," ACU urged in the letter.
"Their actions seem to portray a fundamental hatred for the country," Schlapp told FOX Business. He warned that when companies like AmEx go "woke," they are "going to earn the hatred of millions of Americans, who are going to stop buying your products."
Instead of indulging the "woke" agenda, business leaders should "go back to running their companies, go back to hiring smart people, go back to being profitable and let the American people figure out where they want to be on these issues," Schlapp urged.
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ACU also argued that AmEx took stances against election integrity practices like requiring identification for voting. The ACU letter condemned AmEx for caving to "the Left's nefarious initiative to weaken the security of our elections" by "boycotting candidates for office who expressed concern over the security of our elections."
In the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, American Express announced that its political action committee would not contribute to the campaigns of members of Congress "who voted in favor of the objections to certain states' Electoral College results." Squeri, the AmEx CEO, claimed that these votes aimed "to subvert the presidential election results and disrupt the peaceful transition of power."
The ACU letter claimed that this "pledge has been construed to apply to anyone who supports voter ID, not just those who voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election." While the AmEx pledge may seem extreme, considering the fact that many Democrats voted to contest the 2016 election results, it does not necessarily translate to opposition to voter ID, a very popular policy.
That said, Squeri and AmEx also condemned the Georgia election law, although that statement did not explicitly attack a voter ID policy.
In the letter, ACU demanded that Squeri and AmEx: "(1) renounce racist CRT ideologies and all related versions that seek to disparage employees and customers on their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation; (2) renounce your pledge to boycott the campaigns of politicians who support voter ID; (3) Make up for your wrongdoing by allowing pro-America voices to have equal time in front of employees."
American Express did not respond to FOX Business' request for comment.