Donald Trump gathered tech titans — many of whom opposed his candidacy for the presidency — for a Trump Tower meeting Wednesday, pledging an open-door policy with Silicon Valley.
“I’m here to help you folks do well,” the president-elect said.
“Anything we can do to help this go along, we’re going to be there for you. You’ll call my people, you’ll call me, it doesn’t matter. We have no formal chain of command around here,” Trump told the techies.
Trump was flanked by Peter Thiel, a founder of PayPal and an early supporter who even spoke at the Republican National Committee, and Vice President-elect Mike Pence. Gary Cohn of Goldman Sachs and Wilbur Ross, two recent appointments to the Trump administration, were also there.
Even after the press was ushered out, the meeting continued its genial way. Among the topics discussed, according to several corporate executives and a transition official briefed on the meeting, who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly, were vocational education and the need for more of it, the promise and peril of trade with China and immigration (Mr. Trump wants “smart and talented people here”). The president-elect also asked the executives to see if they could not apply data analysis technology to detect and help get rid of government waste.
There are plans for quarterly meetings of a smaller group of tech executives, to be organized by Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, said one of the executives briefed on the meeting. They will focus mainly on immigration and education issues.
The meeting lasted more than 90 minutes, longer than expected. Mr. Trump was seated next to Peter Thiel, the tech investor who is a member of the president-elect’s transition team. In another sign of Mr. Trump mixing family, business and government hats, three of his adult children — Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric — also attended.
“I won’t tell you the hundreds of calls we’ve had asking to come to this meeting,” Mr. Trump told his guests. Everyone laughed.
Alphabet’s Google is racing to hire more conservatives for its lobbying and policy arm, trying to get a foothold in President-elect Donald Trump’s Washington after enjoying a uniquely close relationship with the administration of President Barack Obama.
In the weeks since the Nov. 8 election, Google has ramped up efforts to hire Republican lobbying firms and in-house lobbyists to change the composition of its Washington office, according to three lobbyists with knowledge of the matter.
The company also posted an advertisement for a manager for conservative outreach and public policy partnership, seeking a “liaison to conservative, libertarian and free market groups.”
While the position is not new, it gives Google a chance to make a hire that reflects the new political climate. Conservatives already are represented in the office.
COOPER: I’m wondering if — was that, you know, there were a lot of Clinton supporters who are upset obviously about the result of the election or depressed about it. You are willing to give him a chance. You are willing — this is the president now. This is everybody’s president. You’re willing to let him — to try to work with him.
J. BROWN: Well in my opinion, people that go against the election are going against America. We have free elections. Everybody can vote, we fought for that, we brag about that and we know we’re going to have a winner and we’re going to have a loser.
So my point is, if we respect the winner and approach that person, have access to that person and that person will look at what we are presenting, that is not too bad. And I could have set back and said well Hillary didn’t win, I’m just going to sit on my butt and complain. But see the one thing about this country, if you get off your butt and you apply yourself, you can be successful. But if you want to be delivered? You’re talk about the wrong country.
Notably absent the meeting was a representative from Twitter, whose platform Trump utilized before, during and after the campaign.
“The conference table was only so big,” RNC Communications Director Sean Spicer said on MSNBC after the meeting. “There was a lot of companies if you go down the list of the top tech companies, I guarantee you, you’ll find additional ones there. This was not an intentional slight.”
“There are only so many people that can actually sit around a conference table. It was packed,” he added.