Tim Cook and Sheryl Sandberg Will Be Among the Tech Titans to Meet With Trump
During the presidential election, contrarian venture-capitalist Peter Thiel's support of Donald Trump's candidacy stood in sharp contrast to the stance the vast majority of his Silicon Valley peers adopted, many of whom threw their weight behind Hillary Clinton. But now that a Trump presidency is on the horizon, and what was once seen as a populist pipe dream has become a startling reality, a number of the most powerful titans in tech are expected to converge on Trump Tower later this week to meet with the president-elect.
Some of Trump's most outspoken critics from the Bay Area are expected to meet with the president-elect in New York City on Wednesday, likely to discuss a number of key issues — such as immigration reform, trade and encryption — that led to what was effectively an industry-wide rebuff of the real-estate mogul during the election. While the invites for the exclusive gathering were sent last week by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Thiel, the names of the invitees were not announced.
But on Saturday, citing sources with knowledge of the event, Recode reported that Alphabet C.E.O. Larry Page, Facebook C.O.O. Sheryl Sandberg, Microsoft C.E.O. Satya Nadella, IBM C.E.O. Ginni Rometty and Apple C.E.O. Tim Cook will be among those in attendance. Amazon C.E.O. and founder Jeff Bezos was also invited to the technology summit and is presumed to be going, sources told the outlet. "Look, this is obviously a circus," one person close to the event told Recode. "Everyone in tech just wants to be invisible right now when it comes to this administration, but has to participate since we have done it before."
The sit down with Trump does have the potential for devolving into a heated, uncomfortable exchange — similar to the president-elect’s meeting with a number of top media executives. Throughout Trump's insurgent bid for the White House, a number of the presumed attendees for Wednesday’s event emerged as vocal critics of the then-Republican nominee — Bezos and Cook chief among them. On a number of occasions, Trump took to Twitter to rail on Bezos and the Washington Post, which is owned by the Amazon founder and took a hardline against the New York businessman during the election. (For his part, Bezos did offer to send Trump to space.)
Similarly, Trump and Cook were at odds throughout the election. The then-presidential hopeful frequently lambasted the Cupertino tech giant over taxes and manufacturing its products outside of the U.S., and at one point he even called for a boycott of Apple products. But not all of the Silicon Valley heavy hitters will be meeting with the president-elect. The list of big name C.E.O.s that won't be in attendance, according to Recode, include Brian Chesky of Airbnb, Reed Hastings of Netflix, Stewart Butterfield of Slack, Drew Houston of Dropbox, and Salesforce’s Marc Benioff.
A number of other notable investors and entrepreneurs reportedly won’t be there, including Marc Andreesen and Reid Hoffman. Unsurprisingly, Meg Whitman, the C.E.O. of Hewlett-Packard, who called Trump a "dishonest demagogue" won’t be joining her tech peers. (It is unclear whether Jack Dorsey was invited or if he will be going.)
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