Donald Trump and his advisers met with 13 prominent leaders of the technology industry at a high-profile summit in New York. The President-elect struck a conciliatory tone to the Silicon Valley executives which consisted largely of prominent opponents and offered to work with them.
“This is a truly amazing group of people,” Trump praised his guests which included Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Elon Musk of Tesla, Timothy D. Cook of Apple, Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, Larry Page and Eric Schmidt of Alphabet, Ginni Rometty of IBM, Safra Catz of Oracle, Chuck Robbins of Cisco, and Satya Nadella of Microsoft.
There was an initial awkwardness among the executives whose companies were against Trump’s candidacy. In an open letter published in July, over 140 technology executives, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists labeled him as a “disaster for innovation.” But Trump tried to make them feel that all these were under the bridge now.
“There’s nobody like you in the world. In the world! There’s nobody like the people in this room,” he gushed. “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. You’ll call my people, you’ll call me. We have no formal chain of command around here.”
At the start of the meeting, Trump assured that he would “do fair trade deals” and “make it a lot easier for you to trade across borders because there are a lot of restrictions, a lot of problems. If you have any ideas on that, that would be great.”
Reporters were allowed to witness only the first moments of the meeting before they were ushered out. Insiders said the discussions centered on how to stay competitive with China, immigration as Trump wants “smart and talented people here” and the possibility of applying data analysis technology to curb government wastage.