Tech Leaders Heading to White House, but Industry Is Divided on Trump – Newsweek

 In U.S.
Technology industry leaders are gathering at the White House on Monday for the first meeting of the American Technology Council. But the technology industry is divided about the president, and rank-and-file employees have called on their CEOs to boycott the meeting.

The council, which President Donald Trump established through an executive order in April, consists of Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and other officials. Its purpose is to develop a federal technology strategy and improve how the government uses technology. Apple CEO Tim Cook, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty and Facebook investor and board member Peter Thiel are among those expected to attend the gathering on Monday.

Related: Trump meets with Facebook, Google, Amazon chiefs

Trump had met with tech leaders in December, during his presidential transition. Among those who attended were Bezos, Cook, Schmidt, Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook and the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk. Trump met separately with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and he named Musk and Uber CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick to the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum. Even those with whom Trump had sparred, such as Bezos, expressed enthusiasm about working with the new president.

That December meeting rankled employees, a few of whom publicly resigned. And many of those tech giants have since pushed back against Trump. Days into the new administration, Sandberg criticized the president for reinstating a policy that prohibits American non-governmental organizations abroad from providing or counseling on abortions. Days later, Bezos, Sandberg, Nadella, Cook and Musk criticized the first version of an executive order suspending the United States refugee resettlement program and temporarily halting travel from certain Muslim-majority countries. Kalanick left the Strategic and Policy Forum after coming under fire for Uber’s apparent effort to break a strike of taxi workers who were demonstrating against the order. (He has since taken a leave of absence from Uber.) Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and other companies also filed an amicus brief in a case challenging the order.

In February, Google and Facebook condemned the Trump administration’s decision to revoke guidance that had said students could use the public school bathrooms matching their chosen gender identities. And in June, Musk left the Strategic and Policy Forum over Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord.

06_19_Trump_tech_summit Then-President-elect Donald Trump met with technology industry leaders, including Facebook board member Peter Thiel, center, and Apple CEO Tim Cook, on December 14. He will meet again with Thiel, Cook and others on January 19 as part of his American Technology Council. Shannon Stapleton/REUTERS

Others in tech have been even more active in their resistance to Trump and his policies. The organization TechSolidarity has met in several cities and calls on rank-and-file tech employees to pressure their executives to oppose the president. That group created the “Never Again” pledge that thousands of employees have signed, promising to refuse to help build a database of people based on religion.

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