After a presidential campaign season mostly supporting the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, the head honchos of Silicon Valley made their way to see Donald Trump in New York City to make nice and push their agendas for the next four years. Not everyone seemed so happy to be there. The attendees included the chiefs of Amazon, Google, Apple, and more — but it was Tim Cook, the Apple CEO who really stood out to folks on social media for having the absolute worst time. This photo of Tim Cook at the Trump meeting is hilarious, and it underlines the difficult relationship that Trump has had with some of the tech community.
Maybe his demeanor improved over the course of the exchange as it's unknown when they took the picture, but Trump's relationship with this group of people has been strained at best. Wired explained how he attacked many of the companies that the (mostly) men represent, accusing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' other company, The Washington Post, of unfair reporting and banning the paper from his events. He also accused Amazon of being a monopoly and said he would send the feds after it. He criticized Apple for not building more of its products within the United States and relying too much on China for its supply chain. Trump claims he talked to Cook about building phones in the United States, but Apple has not commented.
But that now all seems water under the bridge (with one big caveat — Twitter's CEO wasn't invited, reportedly a snub for axing a "crooked Hillary" emoji that Trump wanted, though Trump's team said Twitter was left out because the company isn't big enough). The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump tried a "reset" with the tech industry, heaping praise on them for their innovation and their company's roles supplying so much economic growth. He also seemed to try to connect with them, according to remarks he made at the beginning of the meeting that were captured on video:
I'm here to help you folks do well. ... We want you to keep going with the incredible innovation. There's nobody like you in the world. There's nobody like the people in this room. Anything we can do to help this go along, we’re going to be there for you. You call my people, you call me. It doesn’t make any difference. We have no formal chain of command around here.
Despite Cook's look in the pictures, according to The Journal's report, he figuratively extended a hand in the round of introductions. He said he was looking forward to talking with the president-elect "about the things that we can do to help you achieve some things you want.”
Trump responded in kind, offering the tech giants easier access to overseas markets — at the expense of one of his key campaign promises. "We're going to make fair trade deals," Trump said at the meeting, according to Reuters. "We're going to make it a lot easier for you to trade across borders."
Both Cook and Tesla CEO Elon Musk stayed after for a longer meeting with Trump. What they talked about hasn't been reported on, but one of Trump's biggest critics, Bezos, released his thoughts on the meeting to the media. His statement focused on the common ground, "that the administration should make innovation one of its key pillars, which would create a huge number of jobs across the whole country, in all sectors, not just tech — agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing — everywhere."
As bad as the Trump Cabinet picks might be, he at least hasn't broken the internet — yet.