Tech CEOS visit White House to talk modernizing government


The event is the first for the so-called American Technology Council, and was organized by the White House Office of American Innovation, which is helmed by White House Senior Adviser and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner.

"When securely implemented with scalability, these solutions offer improvement in day-to-day government operations but also dramatically enhance long-term prospects for job creation, workforce skill development and citizen education", Gelsinger said.

While tech leaders - or their companies - have spoken out against some Trump policies, including withdrawing the US from the Paris Climate Agreement and a travel ban that was later overturned, it was still a full house for Monday's meeting, where Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos were among those in attendance.

Alphabet Inc Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, center, listens as White House senior adviser Jared Kushner speaks at the opening session of the White House meeting with technology Chief Executive Officers to mark "technology week", Monday, June 19, 2017, in the Indian Treat Room of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. In December, then-president-elect had invited executives to a roundtable discussion at Trump Tower. But so far, the White House has indicated that it does not consider the situation to be urgent.

"It should be as easy to apply for benefits as it is to deposit a check on your phone", according to a copy of the agenda sent to companies ahead of the meeting. The document frames the effort as "government-as-a-service".

Cook, Bezos and others have since been vocal critics of some of the administration's policies, including the attempt to institute a travel ban for visitors from some majority-muslim countries.

Uber's Travis Kalanick and Tesla's Elon Musk have already left a presidential advisory council over the rift.

"Some liked the decision, some didn't like the decision, but they see a bigger relationship and they've been very happy with the level of dialogue that comes out of this White House, and with the president", the official said. But many in the tech industry appear to disagree, particularly among rank-and-file employees who have called for strong public denunciations of the administration's climate change stance. The executives were also told to bring a subject matter expert from their companies who could provide more information about the topics that the White House is the most interested in. Silicon Valley has never exactly been a hotbed of Trump support. "Hopes for an overhaul of the corporate-tax code this year are fading, some executives and corporate lobbyists say, as the White House and lawmakers struggle to reach consensus on a plan that could get through Congress. Mr. Trump's move to quit the Paris climate accord has been a stinging lesson for some that White House face time doesn't always translate into influence", Vanessa Fuhrmans and Peter Nicholas write for the Wall Street Journal. "As Trump has said, 'Who knew healthcare could be so hard?' Well, who knew that cloud infrastructure could be so hard?"