SPEECHLESS TECH GIANTS: PRESIDENT ELECT DONALD TRUMP MEET WITH SILICON VALLEY TECH TITANS IN A HIGH
Donald Trump and his advisers met with 13 prominent technology executives at Trump Tower in New York on Wednesday. A pool camera captured introductory remarks from Mr. Trump and the executives.
President-elect Donald Trump struck a conciliatory tone at a much-anticipated meeting with some of his most prominent opponents Wednesday, offering to work with Silicon Valley executives to foster innovation and support fairer trade deals.
The 90-minute meeting in Trump Tower in New York marked the first time Mr. Trump met leaders of some of the nation’s most valuable companies, most of whom had supported Hillary Clinton during the campaign, and several of whom were the targets of criticism from Mr. Trump
“I’m here to help you folks do well,” Mr. Trump told 13 tech executives, seated with about a dozen Trump team and family members around a large rectangular table.
The group discussed job creation, China, tax cuts, repatriating foreign assets, education, infrastructure, and eliminating rules that prevent U.S. firms from doing business abroad, according to a release from Mr.
Trump’s transition team. The group might meet as often as quarterly, the release said.
Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, who was criticized by Mr. Trump during the campaign, said the meeting was productive. “I shared the view that the administration should make innovation one of its key pillars, which would create a huge number of jobs across the whole country, in all sectors, not just tech—agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing—everywhere.”
It also showed how much has changed since the election. During the campaign, Mr. Trump accused Mr. Bezos of buying the Washington Post to influence politics. “If I become president, oh do they have problems,” he said. Mr. Bezos later said Mr. Trump’s behavior “erodes democracy around the edges.”
Donald Trump’s commerce secretary-designate, billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, who also attended the meeting, told reporters the summit was “constructive” and that “both the tech guys and the administration got to know each other a lot better.”
The meeting also highlighted the influence of billionaire investor Peter Thiel, who as one of the president-elect’s trusted advisers is at the axis of the political power shift in Silicon Valley. Mr. Trump praised Mr. Thiel at the start of the meeting, “He’s ahead of the curve, and I want to thank you, man.”
Mr. Trump also said Mr. Thiel helped orchestrate the event, even personally nixing the inclusion of many companies that called wanting to attend. “And these are monster companies,” he said.
Instead, the summit attracted the biggest tech giants’ top executives, who ignored shouted questions from the throng of reporters at Trump Tower.
Few in Silicon Valley supported Mr. Trump during the campaign, and he has hinted at policies that worry many big tech firms, such as trade restrictions, stricter immigration policy and tougher antitrust enforcement.
On Wednesday, the two sides sought areas of cooperation.
“We want you to keep going with the incredible innovation. There’s nobody like you in the world…Anything we can do to help this go along, we’re going to be there for you,” Mr. Trump told the tech executives, according to a video of the start of the meeting. “You call my people, you call me. It doesn’t make any difference. We have no formal chain of command around here.”
During a brief round of introductions, Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook said he looked forward to talking with Mr. Trump “about the things that we can do to help you achieve some things you want.”
Facebook Inc. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said she was “excited to talk about jobs.” Tesla Inc.
CEO Elon Musk said he was “really excited about expanding our manufacturing footprint in the U.S.”
The tech executives at the meeting also included the CEO of Google parent Alphabet Inc., Larry Page, and its chairman, Eric Schmidt, as well as the CEO of Microsoft Corp., Satya Nadella, and the company’s president, Brad Smith. The CEOs of Intel Corp., International Business Machines Corp., Oracle Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and Palantir Technologies Inc. also attended.
Another dozen people joined from Mr. Trump’s team, including Mr. Ross; Vice President-elect Mike Pence; Mr. Thiel; incoming White House chief of staff Reince Priebus; Trump adviser Steve Bannon; and Mr. Trump’s three adult children and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
From left to right, Amazon's Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, Alphabet CEO Larry Page, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Vice President-elect Mike Pence and President-elect Donald Trump at Wednesday's meeting.
Tech lobbyists, lawyers and analysts say Silicon Valley’s principal goal under the Trump administration is preserving the status quo. The past eight years under President Barack Obama have been an era of tremendous growth and record profits for the tech industry, aided by favorable federal policies, such as free trade, relatively weak antitrust enforcement and net neutrality, a policy that requires internet providers to treat all web traffic equally.
In statements at the start of the meeting, Mr. Trump said he would “do fair trade deals” and said he would “make it a lot easier for you to trade across borders because there are a lot of restrictions, a lot of problems.” He added, “If you have any ideas on that, that would be great.” Mr. Trump has been a persistent critic of past trade deals, including the pending Trans Pacific Partnership.
Most of the companies that attended the meeting declined to comment on the details. A Cisco spokeswoman said the meeting “was very informative and productive, and President-elect Trump and his team were extremely engaged.”
After Wednesday’s meeting, Mr. Cook of Apple and Mr. Musk of Tesla stayed at Trump Tower to meet privately with Mr. Trump.
Also on Wednesday, the Trump transition team said it added Mr. Musk and Uber Technologies Inc. CEO Travis Kalanick to a separate group that will advise the president-elect on business and economic policy. The President’s Strategic and Policy Forum initially included only one tech executive, Ginni Rometty of IBM. The transition team also added PepsiCo Inc. chief Indra Nooyi to the group.
My Opinion- Donald Trump is very calculating, as his Trump Towers has become PHOTO OPP STUDIO, just like his Reality Show The Apprentice
Most of the Tech Executives were speechless as they did not ask Trump about Encryption, Immigration and Trade (TPP) Policy of how it may affect their Companies
Trump is trying hard pretending to bring people together but in other words making sure his political opponents do not stand in his way in 2020, he would also have the Tech executives in his corner.