Accountable.US: “Actions speak louder than words, and Kroger’s decision to elevate a top Trump official complicit in the former president’s anti-democratic and inhumane agenda speaks volumes”
Washington, D.C. — On Monday, major U.S. grocery store chain Kroger announced that Elaine Chao, former Secretary of Transportation and a key ally of the disgraced former president, had been named as one of the company’s board of directors — a move that undermines the values promoted on Kroger’s website: honesty, integrity, respect, diversity, safety, and inclusion. In light of widespread backlash, it appears the company is now trying to distance itself from the decision, highlighted by a since-deleted Tweet that welcomed Chao to its board.
“If Kroger was interested in living up to its values, it wouldn’t associate with Elaine Chao, let alone select her to serve on its board,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. “It seems clear that honesty, integrity, respect, diversity, safety, and inclusion are simply buzzwords to Kroger, which has a history of exploiting workers and the community it claims to serve for profit. Actions speak louder than words, and Kroger’s decision to elevate a top Trump official complicit in the former president’s anti-democratic and inhumane agenda speaks volumes.”
This isn’t the first time Kroger has strayed from its values. The grocery store chain has a troubling pattern of choosing profits at the cost of its employees: as heroic front-line workers in grocery stores across the country ensured the American people had food on the table, they were denied hazard pay and lost their jobs due to store closures, all while Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen reaped $22.4 million in 2020 compensation. Previously, Kroger was criticized for targeting stores for closure in mostly-minority communities and contributing to food deserts and food insecurity for low-income families, who would later be particularly vulnerable to the threats of a deadly virus, unemployment, and evictions.
Chao was one of the former president’s worst enablers, and was involved in a series of ethics controversies throughout her time leading the Department of Transportation (DOT). Chao failed to condemn the former president for his comments after white supremacists gathered and attacked racial justice advocates in Charlottesville, resulting in the death of an innocent protester, and stood next to Trump as he claimed there were “very fine people, on both sides.” Chao repeatedly sought to use her position in the DOT to benefit her family, including giving the state of Kentucky preferential treatment for road upgrades and other projects to help her husband, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s political career. Chao failed to divest her shares from the industry that supplied construction materials to the transportation sector, enriching herself by $40,000 as a result.
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