Tech Leaders To Meet With President-Elect Trump : The Two-Way Donald Trump has summoned tech industry leaders to New York for a meeting Wednesday. The industry was largely in the Hillary Clinton camp during the election.
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Tech Leaders To Meet With President-Elect Trump

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Tech Leaders To Meet With President-Elect Trump

Tech Leaders To Meet With President-Elect Trump

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Today, another group of people who largely opposed the election of President-elect Donald Trump goes to see him.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Trump is convening a technology summit this afternoon in New York City. It includes some of the biggest names from Silicon Valley. NPR's Aarti Shahani reports.

AARTI SHAHANI, BYLINE: President-elect Trump is not sold on climate change. Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and the co-chair of a new billion dollar investment fund for clean energy, is. But on CNBC yesterday morning, Gates made it sound like that disagreement is a minor detail because...

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BILL GATES: This administration likes a good deal.

SHAHANI: Deal - key word. Even if Trump doubts the science, Gates believes the president-elect could be convinced to throw federal money at companies pursuing green technology if that could create jobs. On China, despite every threat Trump has made regarding trade, Gates uses that word deal again.

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GATES: Well, I don't think it'd be a good deal to have trade relations between China and the U.S. really fall apart.

SHAHANI: Gates says Trump was elected for his leadership style, not policy positions, and those positions can change. And Gates throws in a little flattery, making this comment about Trump's Twitter style.

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GATES: 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.

SHAHANI: It's important to contrast Gates's 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 Consumer Technology Association - a trade group - will not be on that list.

GARY SHAPIRO: No, sadly I did not get my invitation.

SHAHANI: Sadly because in his words, he's thrilled about the meeting. He thinks Trump will be better than President Obama on business issues. Shapiro offers a long list of possible industry wins under Trump - a holiday on cash repatriation, so tech companies can bring back their stockpiles of overseas money without a big tax bill, a lower corporate tax rate, aggressive moves to push back on Chinese and European protectionism, and even immigration for so-called high-skilled Ph.D. types.

SHAPIRO: President Obama and the Democrats said they wanted to do that but they always tied it into overall immigration reform, which as Steve Jobs said on his deathbed, that will kill it. And that's what indeed has happened the last seven years, no action on immigration. And Trump can get action on immigration.

SHAHANI: There's another place Trump could get action that CEOs might not like - bringing tech manufacturing back to the U.S., where it's more expensive. China tells U.S. companies if they want to sell there, they have to manufacture there. Rob Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, says Trump could pressure the Chinese government to drop that rule and shame U.S. tech companies for bowing to it.

ROBERT ATKINSON: You get rid of those policies, you will have more semiconductor jobs in the U.S. in places like Boise, Idaho and places like New Mexico and Arizona and Oregon. Trump could do that.

SHAHANI: The summit is being organized by Peter Thiel, an early Trump backer who's also on the board of Facebook. While CEOs may be meeting with the president-elect, hundreds of their employees have signed a petition pledging to not build databases that could be used for racial profiling of Muslims and other minorities. Aarti Shahani, NPR News, San Francisco.

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