Technology CEOs urged to join Trump initiative

Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook center listens as Ivanka Trump talks with Bill McDermott CEO of German software giant SAP second from right follow remarks at the opening session of the White House meeting with technology Chief Executive Office

"I know of exactly two Trump supporters", Marc Andreessen said in a podcast last month, referring to Thiel and Palmer Luckey, the, um, unconventional founder of Oculus. He heads the White House Office of American Innovation.

Trump's May 1 executive order creating the American Technology Council called for the group of federal officials to overhaul the use of technology across the government. The White House has asked companies whether they would support more leaves-of-absence for engineers and other employees so that they can join the government for temporary tours of duty there, much in the way Obama brought in experts from Google to help fix Healthcare.gov.

Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, made some of his first public remarks since joining the administration when he spoke Monday at an event for the American Technology Council.

The meeting Monday brought leaders of an industry whose key figures have at times openly clashed with Trump. Intel unveiled plans at the Oval Office in February to invest more than $7 billion in an Arizona factory, a move Trump portrayed as a win for USA workers.

One of the meetings was a roundtable with President Trump.


Before meeting with Trump, the CEOs met in 10 small group sessions with Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, along with the presidents of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Ohio State University.

He said the administration was scrapping unneeded cyber compliance rules and should be able to consolidate and eliminate the vast majority of the government's 6,100 data centers and move to a cloud-based storage system. They hope to build a working relationship with the White House on the bipartisan issue of modernizing government. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos - who has been a vocal critic of Trump in the past - called on the USA government to take advantage of commercial technology, much like those provided by his own company and others sat at the table.

Uber's Travis Kalanick and Tesla's Elon Musk have already left a presidential advisory council over President Donald Trump's goal to gut the H-1B visa program, which is frequently used to employ foreign engineering talent in the US, and Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Apple is closely associated with the debate over strong encryption, after it refused to cooperate with the Federal Bureau of Investigation a year ago when the Federal Bureau of Investigation asked Apple to help it access data on an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters.

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