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Ironically, deleting Uber supports Trump

Which has stronger ties to the Trump administration, Uber or Lyft?
Photo credit:
Los Angeles Times

Amid controversy over President Trump’s immigration ban last Saturday, many people criticized the ridesharing service Uber for apparently playing scab to a the New York Taxi Workers Alliance micro strike on JFK airport in New York.

Uber's CEO Travis  Kalanick announced they would turn off the surge pricing to allow protestors the opportunity to rally at the airport without paying an extra fee since the taxi system was boycotting the international airfield.

People quickly judged the tech company for taking advantage of the situation essentially crossing a picket line by allowing drivers to still make trips to JFK. Angry protesters started the hashtag “DeleteUber” in response, and social media ate it up.

Outraged detractors began to point out that Kalanick is also on Trump's Economic Advisory Board, even though in a statement he said he would, "urge the government to reinstate the right of U.S. residents to travel — whatever their country of origin — immediately."

While people were so angry at Uber and subsequently started using Lyft, they may have missed the “Pink Moustached” service’s ties to the Trump administration which may go deeper than that of its competitor.

Uber insisted that they were opposed to the travel ban and the company was not trying to disrespect the taxi strike.

Meanwhile Lyft, also public about their opposition to the ban, said they were going to donate $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and that seemed to appease enough people to hail them as allies.

But in reality, back in 2015, investor and Trump backer Carl Icahn sunk $100 million dollars into Lyft, putting John Christodoro of Icahn Capital in the ranks of the Board of Directors.

Icahn was a strong Trump supporter from the very beginning and the new president even appointed him to a special advisor seat on regulation in December.

Moreover, Founders Fund, a venture capital firm founded by Pete Thiel, also a Trump advisor, was a huge contributor to Lyft's bank account. 

"We don't always agree with our investors and aren't afraid to say so. We do respect their right, and that of every American, to freedom of expression," A Lyft spokesperson told CNBC.

Uber's Kalanick may have political views that mirror Trump’s party, but taking a closer look at how Lyft plays into the ridesharing political wars too; one has to seriously examine which is the lesser of two evils; the one that helped put the president in the White House or the strikebreaker that made it easier for people to protest him.