Donald Trump’s Meeting With Tech Leaders Will Focus On U.S. Jobs

President-elect Donald Trump (Photo: Richard Drew/ AP)

President-elect Donald Trump (Photo: Richard Drew/ AP)

President-elect Donald Trump’s meeting with tech industry leaders on Wednesday is expected to focus heavily on the creation of jobs in the United States, an issue that Trump highlighted repeatedly during the campaign. The conversation, which is set for 2:00 p.m. in New York’s Trump Tower, will last at least an hour and will be attended by top executives from the nation’s largest companies, including Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Oracle and Microsoft.

Trump, who will be joined by chief of staff Reince Preibus, son-in-law Jared Kushner and key transition team member Peter Thiel, will talk about “bringing jobs to America” as well as using technology to streamline government, according to people close to the situation. It is unclear how long the President-elect will be part of the meeting, though one person said he should stay for the majority of the time.

The meeting will also touch on the issue of using technology to improve government, according to the people close to the situation. Given the limited timeframe and Trump’s focus on jobs, it’s unclear whether tech’s leaders will be given the opportunity to discuss other important topics concerning their companies, ranging from net neutrality to data encryption. Wednesday’s agenda has not yet been set, and currently does not include specific issues such as work visas and immigration.

Silicon Valley will hold its collective breath Wednesday afternoon as its leaders ascend a Manhattan skyscraper with golden elevators to meet a man that many in tech had openly opposed during his campaign. Aside from venture capitalist and Facebook board member Thiel, no other influential technology leader voiced their support of Trump prior to the election, leaving the industry and its interests exposed following his victory. One person close to the campaign noted that the meeting was Trump’s way of “asserting dominance” over an industry that had been so cold to his candidacy.

A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

While Trump has yet to be inaugurated, he’s made the protection of American jobs–or at least the impression that he is maintaining jobs–a key component of his post-election efforts. Last month, Trump met with leaders of Indianapolis-based Carrier Corporation, an air conditioner manufacturer, and claimed that he had prevented the loss of 1,000 jobs to Mexico by working out a deal with the company. More recently, Trump claimed in a tweet that he had reached an agreement for Japanese telecom giant Softbank to invest $50 billion in the U.S. and create 50,000 jobs. Trump was widely criticized for overstating his role in both developments.

The focus on jobs may not immediately concern companies such as Facebook and Google, which rely primarily on high-skilled workers, but will apply more directly to Apple and Amazon, who use hourly contractors to assemble devices or help in the shipping and packing of goods. In November, Trump called Apple CEO Tim Cook and said he discussed the construction of a manufacturing plant in the U.S.

Donald Trump’s meeting with tech industry leaders on Wednesday is expected to focus heavily on the creation of jobs in the United States, an issue that the President-elect highlighted repeatedly during the campaign. The conversation, which is set for 2:00 p.m. in New York’s Trump Tower, will last at least an hour and will be attended by top executives from some of the nation’s largest companies, including Apple, Amazon.com, Facebook, Google, Oracle and Microsoft.

Trump, who will be joined by chief of staff Reince Priebus, son-in-law Jared Kushner and key transition team member Peter Thiel, will talk about “bringing jobs to America” as well as using technology to streamline government according to people close to the situation. It is unclear how long the President-elect will be part of the meeting, though one person said he should stay for the majority of the time.

The meeting will also touch on the issue of using technology to improve government, according to sources. Given the limited timeframe and Trump’s focus on jobs, it is unclear whether tech’s leaders will be given the opportunity to discuss other important topics concerning their companies, ranging from net neutrality to data encryption. Wednesday’s agenda has not yet been set, and currently does not include specific issues such as work visas and immigration.

Silicon Valley will hold its collective breath Wednesday afternoon as its leaders ascend a Manhattan skyscraper with golden elevators to meet a man that many in tech had openly opposed during his campaign. Aside from venture capitalist and Facebook board member Thiel, no other influential technology leader voiced their support of Trump prior to the election, leaving the industry and its interests exposed following his victory. One person close to the campaign said that the meeting was Trump’s way of “asserting dominance” over an industry that had been so cold to his candidacy.

A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

While Trump has yet to be inaugurated, he has made the protection of American jobs–or at least the impression that he is saving them–a key component of his post-election efforts. Last month, Trump met with leaders of Indianapolis-based Carrier Corporation, an air conditioner manufacturer, and claimed that he had prevented the loss of 1,000 jobs to Mexico by working out a deal with the company. More recently, Trump claimed in a tweet that he had reached an agreement for Japanese telecom giant Softbank to invest $50 billion in the U.S. and create 50,000 jobs. Trump was widely criticized for overstating his role in both developments.

The focus on jobs may not immediately concern companies such as Facebook and Google, which rely primarily on high-skilled workers, but will apply more directly to Apple and Amazon, who use hourly contractors to assemble devices or help in the shipping and packing of goods. In November, Trump called Apple CEO Tim Cook and said he discussed the construction of a manufacturing plant in the U.S.

“I said, ‘Tim, you know one of the things that will be a real achievement for me is when I get Apple to build a big plant in the United States, or many big plants in the United States, where instead of going to China, and going to Vietnam… you’re making your product right here,’” Trump said in an interview with The New York Times. Trump later said in that interview that he would create “tax incentives” and remove regulations to make that possible.

Cook will reportedly attend Wednesday’s meeting, along with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Alphabet CEO Larry Pageand Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Others expected to appear are Oracle CEO Safra Catz, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich and Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, according to a report from Recode.

Those familiar with the meeting also said that Trump will broach the idea of eliminating wasteful spending by employing technology to make government more efficient. This is a favorite topic of discussion for Thiel, one of the President-elect’s most trusted technology advisors, who has routinely criticized what he sees as government dysfunction.

“Our government used to get things done. The Manhattan Project coordinated the work of more than 130,000 people in over a dozen states,” he wrote in an op-ed in The Washington Post. “It was difficult, unprecedented–and successful… Today our government finds it hard just to make a website.”

Chris Salamone

 

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