Trump taps tech titans to tackle government waste
- Author: Terrell Bush Jun 20, 2017,
Jun 20, 2017, 0:33
The White House is hosting 18 high-profile technology executives on Monday for the first meeting of the American Technology Council. Trump is hardly the first president to try to leverage Silicon Valley in a bid to rethink the way Washington works.
Kushner spoke of the need to modernize government IT systems to create huge savings and "meaningfully improve the lives of Americans".
While tech leaders - or their companies - have spoken out against some Trump policies, including withdrawing the US from the Paris Climate Agreement and a travel ban that was later overturned, it was still a full house for Monday's meeting, where Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos were among those in attendance. Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord was also widely criticized by tech executives, with some withdrawing from advisory positions as a result.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, outgoing General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt and Apple's Cook all condemned the move. 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.
The umbrella issue for the daylong conference is the federal governments antiquated IT systems.
Kushner has been tasked with overseeing a number of initiatives in the Trump administration, including: brokering peace in the Middle East, revamping the federal government, tackling the opioid epidemic, and heading the Office of American Innovation.
The council also seeks to boost the cyber security of US government IT systems and wants to learn from private-sector practices.
Vice President Mike Pence is also expected to stop by, and the group will meet with Trump late in the afternoon to provide an overview of the discussions, according to one senior White House official.