Donald Trump set to meet tech leaders 'including Apple's Tim Cook and Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg'

This signals a radical break from the President-elect's strained relationship with Silicon Valley throughout his presidential campaign

Maya Oppenheim
Monday 12 December 2016 16:18 GMT
A number of tech titans are absent from the list of confirmed attendees such as Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey
A number of tech titans are absent from the list of confirmed attendees such as Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey (AP)

In the hills of Silicon Valley, Donald Trump has long been viewed as more of a foe than a friend. Prior to his surprise win, more than 140 tech leaders signed a scathing letter declaring the President-elect a “disaster for innovation”.

However, with the billionaire property developer soon to be the President, tech figures have been forced to get used to the fact he is here to stay. Last week, invitations were sent to Silicon Valley leaders to meet with Mr Trump.

According to CNN, sources with knowledge of the situation said Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and Intel CEO Brian Krzanich were planning to attend the meeting.

The invites for the exclusive meetup were sent last week by Trump’s son-in-law, advisor and fellow property developer, Jared Kushner, incoming White House Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, and billionaire PayPal founder and Trump supporter, Peter Thiel.

A number of tech titans are absent from the list of confirmed attendees, such as Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. There have been conflicting reports about whether Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos will be attending the gathering.

Bezos and Mr Trump had a something of a strained relationship during the presidential election. On more occasion than one, Mr Trump rebuked Bezos and the Washington Post, which is owned by him. What's more, Bezos has offered to send Mr Trump to space, saying: “I have a rocket company so the capability is there.”

Mr Trump has also clashed with Cook. The Republican rebuked the tech giant over taxes and manufacturing its products outside of the US and even called for a boycott of Apple products at one heated moment.

Unlike fellow tech leaders, Thiel broke away from others, publicly endorsing Mr Trump and becoming one of the most high-profile businessmen to speak at the Republican National Convention in the summer. Thiel has provided a link between the Republican and Silicon Valley.

In a similar vein to Mr Trump’s recent meeting with some top media executives, there is the potential for friction at the gathering. They could disagree over key issues such as immigration and net neutrality.

A representative for Bezos did not immediately respond to request for comment.

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