The Trump transition team announced today that both Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Uber chief executive, Travis Kalanick have taken strategic advisory roles with President-elect Donald Trump and will likely continue to advise him once he is sworn in on January 20, 2017.
Musk questioned Trump’s fitness to be president ahead of election
In a rare bit of humility, or perhaps just showing a rare shift from his usual petulance, Donald Trump, and his team announced that the aforementioned tech executives would join his list of notables that comprise the Strategic and Policy Forum. According to Trump’s team, this group will “meet with the president frequently.”
In an interview on CNBC ahead of the election Musk said, “He doesn’t seem to have the sort of character that reflects well on the United States.”
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Kalanick also criticized Trump a bit while predicting his presidency speaking to a group of university students in the fall of 2015 where he was quoted as saying, “Oh my god, Donald Trump’s gonna win. I’m going to move to China if Donald Trump wins.”
Pepsi chief Indra Nooyi will also join the Strategic and Policy Forum, which already included including JP Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon, Ginny Rometty the chief of IBM as well Disney chief executive Bob Iger.
Musk will be speaking with Trump at Trump Tower on Wednesday afternoon along with Apple CEO, Tim Cook, and other tech executives from Facebook, Google, and other companies. While Kalanick has joined the team, he was unable to travel to New York due to a scheduling conflict. To the three announced today, Trump said that they are “at the top of their fields.”
“My administration is going to work together with the private sector to improve the business climate and make it attractive for firms to create new jobs across the United States from Silicon Valley to the heartland,” Trump continued in his statement.
It’s believed that those meeting with Trump will talk about job creation and quite possibly the repatriation of oversea cash held by companies in more than simply the tech sector.
Focus of talk will be jobs, but Trump likely to shift gears as he does on a whim
While the New York Times reported today that the focus of the discussion would be jobs, President-elect Trump has shown that he’ll talk about or tweet on whatever strikes his fancy at any given time.
The Information Technology Industry Council, which counts Amazon, Facebook, Apple and others among its members, organized a conference call between them and others last Friday to put together a plan to stick together in the meeting with Trump according to Dean C. Garfield, President of the council.
“There are many areas of potential shared alignment between the technology industry and the incoming Trump administration,” Mr. Garfield said. “Wednesday’s meeting is a good opportunity to explore what is possible.”
Jeff Bezos will also be in attendance which makes sense as he’s the CEO of Amazon, but he’s also the owner of The Washington Post which had its press credentials yanked by Trump earlier than other news outlets that also had theirs pulled from Trump rallies.
But, Bezos was quoted as saying, “I for one give him my most open mind,” ahead of today’s meeting.