Trump to tech leaders: “We’re here to help”
Industry heavyweights agree to meet quarterly
new york» President -elect Donald Trump, who faced fierce opposition from some Silicon Valley leaders during the election campaign, strove to assure the titans of tech on Wednesday that his administration is “here to help you folks do well.”
Trump, still savoring his election victory, convened a summit at Trump Tower for nearly a dozen tech leaders, whose industry largely supported Democrat Hillary Clinton. Many in the industry are worried Trump will stifle innovation, curb the hiring of computer-savvy immigrants and infringe on consumers’ digital privacy.
He immediately tried to allay those fears.
“We want you to keep going with the incredible innovation. Anything we can do to help this go on, we will be there for you,” Trump said.
“You’ll call my people; you’ll call me. We have no formal chain of command around here.”
The CEOs who filled the table in Trump’s 25th-floor conference room included Apple’s Tim Cook, Alphabet’s Larry Page, Google’s Eric Schmidt, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Tesla’s Elon Musk, IBM’s Ginni Rometty, Oracle’s Safra Catz and Cisco Systems’ Chuck Robbins. Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, attended instead of its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, who is one of many tech executives who have expressed misgivings about Trump’s pledge to deport millions of immigrants who are in the country illegally.
The meeting remained amiable, and the group, which agreed to meet quarterly, also had preliminary discussions about immigration and how to stay competitive with China, although no firm commitments were made, according to a person briefed on the meeting but not authorized to discuss it publicly.
Apple CEO Tim Cook, right, and PayPal founder Peter Thiel, center, listen as President-elect Donald Trump speaks Wednesday during a meeting with tech industry leaders at Trump Tower in New York. Evan Vucci, The Associated Press