But though the broader tech community is aligned with the president on issues such as modernization of government IT systems and removing barriers to innovation, Silicon Valley has continued to split with the administration over several of Trump’s policy decisions.
Last month, tensions between the White House and the tech community reached a new low following the President Trump’s remarks on the violence in Charlottesville, Va.
Then, after the inauguration, the Trump administration said it would push a number of tech-related policy initiatives, including modernization of government IT systems and a boost in cybersecurity efforts.
Trump also issued an executive order at the end of April establishing the American Technology Council, which sought to transform and modernize the government’s IT systems and its delivery of digital services, and seek input from the private sector on how best to accomplish those goals.
In June, top representatives from Silicon Valley gathered at the White House for the council’s inaugural meeting.
But though the Trump administration has been working to reconcile its relationship with the tech community, Trump’s recent policy decisions have put him squarely at odds with Silicon Valley.
It began in May, when he announced the U.S. would be withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement. Then, last month, a number of top Silicon Valley CEOs and executives condemned Trump’s decision to ban transgender individuals from serving in the military “in any capacity.”
The new policy, announced via a series of tweets, earned the ire of Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, among others.
But Trump’s relationship with Silicon Valley reached a fever pitch this month after white supremacists clashed with counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Va.
During remarks immediately following the Aug. 12 events in Charlottesville, Trump said “many, many sides” were to blame for the violence.
The president reinforced his statements during a press conference at Trump Tower three days later, when he said there were some “very, very fine people” involved in the violence in Charlottesville and, again, stated that “both sides” were to blame.”
In the wake of the president’s comments, two of his advisory councils disbanded after numerous CEOs resigned in protest. And tech CEOs who participated in the American Technology Council’s inaugural meeting didn’t hide their discontent with Trump’s remarks.
Cook urged Americans to “stand against” the “terror of white supremacy,” and Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, who resigned from Trump’s Manufacturing Jobs Initiative, said the Trump administration needs to “set scoring political points aside and focus on what is best for the nation as a whole.”
But despite the escalating tensions between the White House and tech community, the White House said the American Technology Council’s work will go on as planned, as the panel has only government employees within its ranks.
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