Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos: Trump tech meeting 'productive'

By Allen Cone  |  Dec. 15, 2016 at 9:33 AM
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NEW YORK, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- President-elect Donald Trump had a "productive" meeting with 12 tech leaders, according to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Also attending the session Wednesday at Trump Tower were leaders from Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Intel, Oracle, IBM, Cisco and Tesla -- many of whom actively opposed his election.

"I found today's meeting with the president-elect, his transition team and tech leaders to be very productive," Bezos told CNBC on Wednesday. "I shared the view 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."

Trump often has been critical of Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post, but they were civil Wednesday.

"We want you to keep going with the incredible innovation," Trump said of those attending in a press briefing before the meeting. "There's no one like you in the world....anything we can do to help this go along, we're going to be there for you. You can call my people, call me — it makes no difference — we have no formal chain of command around here."

The meeting was organized by Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and PayPal and Palantir co-founder and Trump transition adviser Peter Thiel. Also in attendance were Trump's three grown children -- Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Eric -- as well as billionaire Wilbur Ross, his commerce secretary pick, and Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn, his selection for director of the National Economic Council.

"I won't tell you the hundreds of calls we've had asking to come here to this meeting," Trump said. "And I will say Peter [Thiel] was saying, 'No, that company's too small,' and these are monster companies. But I want to start by thanking Peter, because he saw something very early, maybe before we saw it. And of course, he's known for that... he's ahead of the curve."

Topics included jobs, skilled immigration and China, a person familiar with what was discussed told CNBC on Wednesday.

"They're going to do fair trade deals," Trump said. "They're going to make it easier for you to trade across borders, because there are a lot of restrictions, a lot of problems. If you have any ideas on that, that would be great."

Other attendees were two of Trump's economic advisers: Tesla CEO Elon Musk and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty.

"This is a truly amazing group of people," Trump said from the 25th-floor conference room before the press departed from the 90-minute meeting.

None of the executives spoke to the media after the meeting.

No one from Twitter was invited.

Twitter declined to comment on why, but one of his campaign officials wrote on Medium that Twitter had killed a #CrookedHillary emoji. Sean Spicer, a spokesman for Trump, said Twitter was left out because of space considerations.

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