U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Silicon Valley executives have a chance to smooth over frictions when they meet at his Manhattan tower on Wednesday for talks, after both sides made no secret of their disdain for each other during the presidential campaign.
Sources said the meeting may skirt the numerous disagreements with Trump — who has accused tech companies of being overvalued — in favor of a focus on shared priorities.
“If he can reform the tax code, reduce regulation, and negotiate better trade deals, the U.S. technology community will be stronger and more competitive than ever,” Oracle Chief Executive Safra Catz, who will attend the meeting, said in a statement.
The tech luminaries, including Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) Tim Cook, Facebook Inc’s (FB.O) Sheryl Sandberg and Tesla Motors Inc’s (TSLA.O) Elon Musk, will get a chance to promote their priorities like strong encryption and liability protections from content shared by their users.The meeting is billed as an introductory session, said four sources briefed on the talks, all of whom requested anonymity to discuss a private meeting.
Other expected participants include Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, Amazon.com’s (AMZN.O) Jeff Bezos, Microsoft Corp’s (MSFT.O) Satya Nadella, and Ginni Rometty from IBM (IBM.N), sources said.
The CEOs of Airbnb and Uber were invited but are not attending. Uber’s Travis Kalanick will instead be traveling in India all week, according to a person familiar with his plans.
Trump clashed with Silicon Valley on several issues during the campaign, including immigration, government surveillance and encryption, and his surprise victory last month alarmed many companies that feared he might follow through on his pledges. He has said that many tech companies are overvalued by investors.
“You look at some of these tech stocks that are so, so weak as a concept and a company and they’re selling for so much money,” he told Reuters in an interview in May.
Those concerns have not been assuaged in recent weeks as Trump has threatened to upset trade relationships with China, a key market for U.S. tech companies, and appoint officials who favor expanded surveillance programs.
“For some of the companies, there was some hesitation about whether to attend” because of sharp political and personal differences with Trump, one tech industry source said.
Nearly 600 employees of technology companies pledged in an open letter on Tuesday to refuse to help Trump’s administration build a data registry to track people based on their religion or assist in mass deportations.
Silicon Valley enjoyed a warm rapport with President Barack Obama and heavily supported Democrat Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign.
Trump has also been an opponent of the Obama administration’s net neutrality rules barring internet service providers from obstructing or slowing consumer access to web content. Two advisers to his Federal Communications Commission transition team are opponents of the rules, as are the two Republicans on the FCC.
Last week, the two Republicans on the panel urged a quick reversal of many Obama policies and one, Commissioner Ajit Pai, said he believed that net neutrality’s “days are numbered.”
Vice President-elect Mike Pence will also attend, transition officials said.
One major absence will be that of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey — despite the fact that the billionaire-turned-president-elect uses the social network as a major means of getting out his message.
Bezos has been the target of the Manhattan real estate tycoon’s ire, for allegedly using The Washington Post to secure tax benefits for Amazon — and to attack the Republican..
Late last month, a group of 17 tech associations offered to work with Trump while calling for policies to “foster growth and innovation.” Trump meets with tech execs, including his critics
Many of these Tech heads were concerned about Trump’s comments of deporting all illeglas as many of them use these illegals to make their products. Well if they are so good then make them become legal then. It’s not hard to do. If you are here illegally and refuse to become legal then I say for you to leave then.
These heads are all so concerned about Trump’s comments about Mexicans. This is again being blown out of proportion. His comments have been so misconstrued to say that all Mexicans are murderers and rapists and HE DID NOT SAY THAT!!!! What he said was “Mexico is not sending their best!!(which is true) Many are rapists and murderers and some are good people.(which is also true) I hire a lot of Mexicans.” He is absolutely right. Mexico is not sending their best. Our prison system is filled with rapists and murderers from Mexico, 45% to be exact.
I am all for doing away with net neutrality too. Net neutrality limits what you could say and you would be carefully screened what you could publish. Many conservative groups feared they would not be allowed to publish their expressions or ideas.
Hopefully after their meeting with Trump they will see he is not the unholy beast they think he is.