As promised, the US president-elect is nothing if not unpredictable. Shortly after naming various oil industry insiders and science deniers to his cabinet, he not only invited fearless fossil fuel foe Elon Musk to a meeting of tech titans, but also announced that Musk will be on the president’s Strategic and Policy Team, a group of businesspeople that “will be called upon to meet with the president frequently to share their specific experience and knowledge as the president implements his economic agenda.”
The meeting included 15 executives from such companies as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Google parent Alphabet. Some felt that the leaders should have boycotted the event to show their opposition to Trump’s values. Others argued that they should go and bluntly state their commitment to innovation, diversity and other progressive ideals.
It’s possible that some of them did so – few details of what was discussed at the 90-minute meeting were released to the press. The New York Times reported that topics included vocational education (and the need for more of it), the pros and cons of trade with China, and immigration. The president-elect also asked the execs if they could apply data analysis technology to rooting out government waste.
We don’t know much about Elon’s contribution to the meeting. He introduced himself thus: “Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, building rockets, and cars, and solar stuff in the US – actually really excited about expanding our manufacturing footprint in the US.” Recode reports that Musk participated in a number of discussions, and later brought up the issue of climate change in a private meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook and the president-elect.