Mere months ago, it would have been unthinkable- these big shot guys being in the same room with the man they profess to detest. It would have been unimaginable then for them to be having a meeting, and for these top guns to be even going out of their way to be nice and respectful to the man whose defeat many of them supported. But against all odds, the man won, and the game has changed.
Some of the top guys from the high profile technology sector are set to attend a technology sector summit with President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower on Wednesday. Reported to have confirmed their presence to the event are Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Oracle Co-CEO Safra Catz, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, as well as Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, CEO and Chairman of Google parent Alphabet.
Silicon Valley's Peter Thiel, Paypal's funder helped arranged the meeting. Thiel is one of the very few from the sector who had the guts to support Trump during the campaign. Many of the rest of the sector's leaders openly and fervently supported Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Amazon's Bezos who also owns the Washington Post often caught the ire of Trump during the campaign for what the Republican felt was the paper's unfair and unfavorable coverage of him. Trump also had differences with Apple over the issue of the tech giant's manufacturing operations in China. While Cook and Page had been participants in an American Enterprise Institute forum with the dubious intention of stopping Trump's nomination.
But in the meeting, the tech top honchos must put that behind as they participate in the effort to talk initiated by the camp of Trump which is a reflection of his commitment to forging unity with all as he takes over the White House next month.
Ahead of the meeting, Oracle's Catz said in a statement that they are with Trump and will help him in any way. At the same time, Catz specified the sector's "wish list" for Trump including reforming tax code, reducing regulation, and negotiating better trade deals. If these are achieved, Catz said the sector will be " stronger and more competitive than ever."
Paul Gallant, a Cowen & Co. analyst who focuses on tech policy believes that the best scenario for the companies under a Trump administration would be to be " left alone", although he concedes that that's highly unlikely given that the sector is so important to the economy, and to people's lives. Gallant thinks, however, that Trump being a businessman himself may use his famous deal-making skills to work to his and the companies' advantage.
The 45th American President is expected to push for his vision and policy as well to the tech leaders, one of which is his campaign promise to give job priorities to Americans. Trump has recently underscored his plan to limit the number of foreign workers entering the country through H-1B visas.
The meeting will be closed to the media.
If the tech leaders' willing participation in the unlikely meeting is merely a survivor's instinctive move or a strong desire to clear the air with the incoming president and move forward remains to be seen. What's certain is they will be on their toes keeping up with a new leader who's working so hard this early. And they should be ready for some paradigm shift as Trump will be unshakeable in his commitment to hold American workers' interest as top priority.