Meeting in the Tower
Despite animosities during the campaign, President-elect Trump met with tech industry leaders at a conference in the Trump Tower last Wednesday. In attendance were executives from companies like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, IBM and Oracle.
Back and forth
During the campaign, Trump regularly denounced Silicon Valley executives, who likewise poo-pooed the presidential hopeful. The President-elect, who disagreed with Apple’s privacy policies, had called for a boycott of the company. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg butted heads with Trump aides after he publicly opposed Trump’s proposed Mexican border wall. And he warned Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos that he would have “such problems” if he were elected, likely in response to unfavorable coverage by the Washington Post, which Bezos owns.
At Wednesday’s meeting, however, this bad blood seemed to be water under the bridge. He told attendees, “There’s nobody like you in the world. There’s nobody like the people in this room. And anything we can do to help this go along, we’re going to be there for you.”
A new conversation
Some were surprised by the sudden change of heart. However, the tech industry and the government are clearly dependent on one another for success. No one would benefit from either side holding on to its grudges. Said Michael Beckerman, president of the Internet Association, “The election is the election; the campaign is the campaign. Now we’re talking about governing the country and it’s a different conversation and the tone is very different.”
Tech executives were eager to discuss immigration policy with the next President.
Trump ran his campaign on anti-immigrant sentiment, but tech execs were quick to point out that their industry is dependent on highly-skilled immigrants.
Summit attendees also discussed Trump’s proposed regulations and tax reforms. The attendees also talked about how to improve and innovate the technologies that the government uses.
A cordial affair
Despite Trump’s love affair with social media site Twitter, the company was notably absent from the meeting. While campaign adviser Sean Spicer claimed that “the conference table was only so big,” others suspect that Twitter was left out for refusing to allow a #CrookedHillary emoji on the site during the campaign.
Insiders described the meeting as “cordial” and “productive.” Trump says he plans to have more meeting with tech executives in the future.