Tech Leaders Meet With President-Elect Trump On Wednesday

Aaron Levie, CEO of Box, supported Hillary Clinton and he says he will continue to work and lobby for what he believes. (Lisa Lake/Getty Images)
Aaron Levie, CEO of Box, supported Hillary Clinton and he says he will continue to work and lobby for what he believes. (Lisa Lake/Getty Images)

For the most part, the tech industry did not support President-elect Trump. But he won, and now Trump is convening a technology summit this afternoon in New York City, and expects Silicon Valley leaders will be there.

One of the industry’s luminaries — Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft — was already at Trump Tower Tuesday. He seemed to suggest Trump and the industry will reach an accommodation.

Gates offered this example: President-elect Trump is not sold on climate change. Gates — the co-chair of a new billion-dollar investment fund for clean energy — is. On CNBC Tuesday morning, Gates made it sound like that disagreement is a minor detail because, he said, “This administration likes a good deal.”

Deal. Key word!

Even if Trump doubts the science, Gates believes the president-elect could be convinced to throw federal money at companies pursing green technology — if that would create jobs.

On China, despite every threat Trump has made regarding trade, Gates used that word — deal — again: “Well, I don’t think it would be a good deal to have trade relations between China and the U.S. really fall apart.”

Gates said Trump was elected for his leadership style — not policy positions — and those positions can change.

In his post-meeting remarks Gates threw in a little flattery, making this comment about Trump’s Twitter style: “Yeah, he tweets more than I do. I’m impressed. You know, I come from the tech industry and I just can’t keep up.”

It’s important to contrast Gates’ voice — the tech titan pragmatist/optimist — with the voice of Microsoft’s current chief. Or rather, his silence. Microsoft would not confirm if CEO Satya Nadella is attending the summit. Other CEOs have been equally cagey. The Trump transition team says they may release a list of attendees after the meeting.

Gary Shapiro, head of the trade group Consumer Technology Association, will not be on that list. He’s not boycotting. “Sadly I did not get my invitation,” he says.

“Sadly,” because he’s “thrilled” about the meeting. He thinks Trump will be better than President Obama on business issues.

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SOURCE:  
NPR