With Election Day imminent, a prominent Texas business leader last week appeared to urge her employees to consider voting for Donald J. Trump and other Republican candidates.
Barbara R. Smith, chief executive of the Commercial Metals Company, a manufacturer in Irving, Texas, suggested on Thursday in a memo to workers that a Democratic president and Senate could diminish the company’s future earnings by $200 million a year.
“There are sharp differences between the two candidates’ approaches toward the economy, trade, national security and entitlements,” she wrote, adding, “I urge you to consider each party’s platform and its impact on this great company you have helped to build.”
The memo, a copy of which was reviewed by The New York Times, was distributed to thousands of Commercial Metals employees around the United States, according to one recipient.
The memo left some Commercial Metals employees uncomfortable, according to two people with knowledge of the reactions, leading Ms. Smith to clarify her intentions, one of them added.
In a follow-up note to employees on Monday, Ms. Smith told employees that “the candidates you vote for and the policies you support are entirely your own business, but whatever your political beliefs, what is most important is that you vote.”
In the original memo, Ms. Smith wrote that the company’s government affairs experts had reviewed the possible impact of various election outcomes, and found that a “unified government” scenario — involving a Democrat in the White House and at least three additional Democratic seats in the Senate — could lead to an increase in corporate taxes of up to 35 percent, a pivot to greener industries that could harm metals manufacturers and a removal of Trump-era tariffs that have benefited U.S. steel and aluminum companies. Those actions, taken together, could hurt the company’s bottom line, the analysis found.
Joseph R. Biden Jr. has said that if he were to win the presidency, he would push for an increase in corporate taxes to 28 percent from their current level of 21 percent under Mr. Trump. While Mr. Biden has embraced the idea of spending government money on renewable energy and has criticized Mr. Trump’s tariff policies for alienating allies, he has not taken clear positions on either a carbon tax or tariff reforms.