President-elect Donald Trump met with high-profile tech titans at Trump Tower in New York City on Dec. 14, including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
“I’m here to help you folks do well, and you’re doing well right now and I’m very honored by ‘the bounce’—they’re all talking about ‘the bounce’ and I know everybody in this room has to like me a little bit,” Trump reportedly said to the executives arranged around his conference table, apparently in reference to the stock market’s post-election rise. (Mashable, along with a few other tech publications, collated the Tweets and reports filtering from inside the building.)
Whether or not they like him now, many of Silicon Valley’s top executives expressed reservations about the President-elect in the months leading up to the election. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who was also present at the meeting, criticized Trump in early November; Jeff Bezos helpfully offered to shoot Trump into space aboard one of his Blue Origin rockets.
Now that Trump has won the election, however, a certain degree of pragmatism has taken hold. Musk has joined Uber CEO Travis Kalanick (not present at the meeting) on the Strategic and Policy Forum, which will attempt to advise the President on business issues. And Bezos, like many tech leaders, has made conciliatory statements about working with the new administration.
“Perhaps even more importantly we want you to keep going with the incredible innovation,” Trump added during the meeting. “There’s nobody like you in the world. There’s nobody like the people in this room. You’ll call my people, you’ll call me. It doesn’t make any difference, we have no formal chain of command around here.”
Others present at the gathering included Alphabet’s Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Oracle co-CEO Safra Catz, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, Palantir CEO Alex Karp, and Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins.
One interesting absence: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who runs the social network that Trump can’t seem to stop using. According to a report in Politico, Dorsey was excluded “for refusing during the campaign to allow an emoji version of the hashtag #crookedhillary.” Twitter has not confirmed that report.
There are a lot of outstanding questions about Trump’s tech policies, including his stance on H-1B visas; some of those issues, including the preservation of net neutrality, are a source of worry to companies such as Google. Tech leaders obviously hope that they can help shape his administration’s positions in days to come. While Trump told those at the meeting that he planned to help tech companies “trade across borders” more easily, he declined to dig into the nitty-gritty of policy.