Tech industry’s anti-Trump letter, Peter Thiel and ‘frank’ talk and Mike Pence as VP pick

With Donald Trump set to be named the Republicans’ presidential nominee at next week’s convention, we’re again taking the temperature of tech industry’s relationship with Trump. The reading: Still mostly chilly.

Chilly might be an understatement, what with about 150 tech CEOs, investors and others signing an open letter Thursday calling a possible Trump presidency “a disaster for innovation.” The signatories are a who’s who in tech: Vint Cerf, Pierre Omidyar, Padmasree Warrior, Jimmy Wales, Ev Williams, Esther Dyson, Steve Wozniak and more.

From the letter, posted on Medium by Katie Jacobs Stanton, formerly of Twitter and Google and now chief marketing officer at gene startup Color Genomics: “Trump’s vision stands against the open exchange of ideas, free movement of people, and productive engagement with the outside world that is critical to our economy — and that provide the foundation for innovation and growth.”

The letter also said Trump “campaigns on bigotry,” citing his rhetoric about immigrants, refugees, women and others. So the tech industry likely isn’t impressed with Trump’s vice presidential pick, announced Friday: Mike Pence, the Indiana governor who signed a law permitting businesses owners to refuse to do business with gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people based on religious beliefs. Apple CEO Tim Cook and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff spoke out against that law last year, and other tech leaders including Mark Zuckerberg, Marissa Mayer and Larry Page later joined an effort to push for legal measures to protect gay people against discrimination around the country.

A notable exception to the anti-Trump sentiment in the tech world is billionaire entrepreneur Peter Thiel — who’s gay — co-founder of PayPal and Palantir, and a Facebook board member.

We’ve known for months that he is a California delegate for Trump, but Thiel and his people have been tight-lipped about his support for the candidate. Now he has finally given us a clue, via a statement to CNN Thursday:

“Many people are uncertain in this election year, but most Americans agree that our country is on the wrong track. I don’t think we can fix our problems unless we can talk about them frankly.”

Listen for “frank” talk from Thiel next week; he’s scheduled to speak at the convention in Cleveland on Thursday, July 21, the final night of the four-day event.


Photo: Donald Trump. (AP/Seth Wenig)


Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Share this Post

  • Slick Hillary

    Well, that’s because all of these guys want free trade instead of fair trade, cheap workers brought in on visas while hiding all their cash overseas. And you can take that to the bank. I certainly have.

  • Thelip95032

    A bunch of tech socialist write letter criticizing Trump about trade , these are the same people that sold out the middle class and shipped all their jobs to India. Ya like a letter from them has any meaning, only to the millennials that think they are concerned about people.