Donald Trump is far from popular among the denizens of Silicon Valley. He’s had a turbulent relationship with those in the tech world, but the President-elect is reportedly trying to patch things up by inviting a number of industry leaders to a roundtable summit on December 14.
USA Today reports that the invitation to the meeting, which will be held at Trump Tower in New York, came from Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus; his son-in-law, Jared Kushner; and transition team advisor Peter Thiel - one of the few Silicon Valley names that supported Trump’s campaign.
Right now, the only CEO to confirm he will be there is Cisco's Chuck Robbins. It’s not clear who else will attend, but it would be surprising if the invites didn’t extend to company bosses such as Satya Nadella, Tim Cook, Sundar Pichai, and Mark Zuckerberg.
Other than PayPal co-founder Thiel, the overwhelming majority of tech leaders fought against Trump’s campaign. The industry donated around $10 million to Hillary Clinton's push for president, whereas Trump received less than a quarter of that amount, the majority of which came from Thiel.
The meeting should certainly be an interesting one, and has the potential to get heated. Trump reportedly berated high-ranking media members during an off-the-record meeting at Trump Tower last month. “It was like a f**ing firing squad,” said one anonymous guest.
In the lead-up to November’s election, there was a slew of stories about the tech industry’s opposition to a Trump presidency, including an open letter signed by top execs, a private event where CEOs discussed how to stop him, and a Facebook co-founder pledging $20 million to help derail his campaign.
Guests at the event may see this as an opportunity to build bridges with the Trump administration. Some of his previously outspoken critics – Jeff Bezos, Zuckerberg, and Cook – have since softened their stance toward the Republican. Now, many other heads of industry are accepting that they’ll have to work with Trump, and will no doubt be hoping to avoid the firing squad.