White House meetings add to tech’s awkward dance with Trump

R1906

The fraught relationship between the country’s leading tech executives and President Donald Trump is about to get even more tense.

The latest uncomfortable moment arrives Monday, when top tech CEOs are expected to sit down with Trump at the White House to talk about modernizing government technology. Many of the companies have refused to confirm their attendance publicly, in a sign of how sensitive their dealings with the Trump administration have become in a liberal Silicon Valley that loathes his policies on issues like immigration and climate change.

It’s just the newest example of a dynamic that has ensnared some of the industry’s leading figures. In February, embattled Uber CEO Travis Kalanick backed away from a Trump economic council after critics of the president’s travel ban announced a boycott of the company. More recently, Tesla CEO Elon Musk quit his role as a White House business adviser after Trump abandoned the Paris climate accord.

Liberal activists are serving notice that other tech companies need to beware — and calling on Silicon Valley workers to pressure their employers to disengage from Trump.

“Trump has been in office for almost 150 days. There is no mistaking what this administration is,” said Nicole Carty, campaign manager for SumOfUs, an advocacy group pressuring executives to leave Trump’s advisory councils. “They are condoning an administration in a moment when the truth and intent of its agenda has been revealed.”

“This meeting doesn’t have to happen,” another group, Tech Solidarity, wrote in a blog post about Monday’s White House session. “Tech employees have the power to stop it.”

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