Transition Briefing: Trump Plans Technology Conference With Silicon Valley Executives
The tech industry was almost universally opposed to Mr. Trump, which might give the meeting a touch of combativeness. His transition team and cabinet posts draw much more heavily from Wall Street than Silicon Valley.
There is one major exception: Peter Thiel, a vocal Trump backer who is now in New York helping with the transition. Late last week, David Sacks, the chief executive of Zenefits, said he was stepping down amid conflicting reports that he will be working on the transition as well. Mr. Sacks is a longtime associate of Mr. Thiel.
The list of those being invited was not immediately clear, but among those expected are Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Tim Cook of Apple and Sundar Pichai of Google.
About those Carrier jobs in Indianapolis.
The president-elect’s move to save 1,100 jobs at a Carrier furnace plant in Indiana has been a political winner, even if it has raised concerns among economists on the left and the right.
Now the chief executive of United Technologies, Carrier’s parent company, says in the end, many of those jobs (he put the figure at 800) likely will fall to automation rather than Mexico.
In an interview with CNBC’s Jim Kramer, the C.E.O., Greg Hayes was blunt.
“We’re gonna make up $16 million investment in that factory in Indianapolis to automate to drive the cost down so that we can continue to be competitive. Now is it as cheap as moving to Mexico with lower cost labor? No. But we will make that plant competitive just because we’ll make the capital investments there.”
MR. CRAMER: “Right.”
MR. HAYES: “But what that ultimately means is there will be fewer jobs.”
He also confirmed that he feared standing up to the president-elect could be very costly to his conglomerate, which includes a lot of defense work.
“There was a cost as we thought about keeping the Indiana plant open. At the same time — and I’ll tell you this because you and I — we know each other, but I was born at night but not last night. I also know that about 10 percent of our revenue comes from the U.S. government.”
Trump fires at business; business holds back.
The president-elect has now taken shots at two American companies by name, Carrier and Boeing, which he suggested on Tuesday “is doing a little bit of a number” with the cost of an Air Force One redesign.
That latter hit came after Boeing’s chief executive told The Chicago Tribune he is leery of Mr. Trump’s trade policies.
How is business responding? Very cautiously.
In a Business Roundtable conference call Tuesday to release its latest survey of how its members see the economy, Douglas R. Oberhelman, chairman of the business group and the chief executive of Caterpillar, did not criticize the president-elect’s threats to punish companies if they move production abroad.
“I think it’s a great dialogue,” he said.
Mr. Oberhelman did push back on Mr. Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on American manufacturers that export products made overseas back into the United States.
“If he thinks we can negotiate better, then we ought to,” he said. “I do worry about retaliation with a 35 percent tariff or a unilateral action against a trading partner, especially if it’s a big one like China.”
Mike Pence and the national security adviser-designate’s son.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence, appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program, said on Tuesday that the son of retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, who posted a baseless fake news story on Twitter on Sunday night, has “no involvement in the transition whatsoever.” And indeed, Mike Flynn Jr. may have been pushed out.
The younger Mr. Flynn has sat in on some transition meetings and lists it as part of his biography. Until Monday, he had a transition email and has served as General Flynn’s chief of staff.
But on Tuesday, emails to that transition address were bouncing back, and transition spokesman Jason Miller said on a morning conference call that the general’s son is no longer involved.
The discussion arose from the younger Flynn’s tweet supporting the hoax that somehow Hillary Clinton and her campaign chairman, John Podesta, ran a child sex-trafficking ring out of a Washington pizzeria, a conspiracy that prompted an armed attack on the restaurant on Sunday.
But the senior Flynn has put out conspiracy theories and fake news stories of his own on Twitter:
Mr. Pence will speak Tuesday night at a Heritage Foundation event at, where else, the Trump International Hotel in Washington. No word yet what Heritage is paying the Trump Organization for the space.
America to Trump: Stop tweeting!
True, polls these days are a bit discredited, what with the election results and everything, but consider this: 56 percent of Americans think Mr. Trump uses Twitter too much. A strong plurality, 49 percent, said the president-elect’s use of Twitter is a bad thing.
The Morning Consult poll, of course, showed the usual partisan divide. Only 37 percent of Trump voters said the president-elect was going a little heavy on the tweets, while 79 percent of Hillary Clinton voters thought so.
Then again, there were considerably more voters for Mrs. Clinton than Mr. Trump.
Regardless, he’s tweeting anyway:
Clinton defenders redouble attacks on Trump.
On Tuesday morning, the liberal political action committee American Bridge rededicated itself to opposing the incoming Trump administration at every turn, pledging to use many of the same hard-line tactics it used during the presidential campaign.
“Elected leaders, they have to be gracious to Trump. That’s not our role,” said David Brock, the driving force behind several pro-Hillary Clinton efforts during the presidential election and the founder of American Bridge.
Why American Bridge’s advisers believe that what did not work during the election will suddenly succeed once Mr. Trump becomes president is unclear. During a conference call announcing its plans, an adviser went through the considerable resources the group can bring to bear like tens of thousands of hours of footage of Mr. Trump, an army of researchers digging into his background, a powerful media megaphone.
American Bridge and other like-minded groups had all that during the campaign, of course. Asked what difference it all made, Mr. Brock pointed to the small comforts he could take in what was a devastating and unexpected loss: Mr. Trump’s historically low approval ratings, the high share of voters who say a Trump presidency frightens them, and Mrs. Clinton’s success with low-income voters.
And he added one more. “We did win the popular vote,” Mr. Brock noted.
By a lot — 2,653,958 votes and still rising.
Mr. Brock did not mention — nor was he asked — whether abolishing the Electoral College would be on American Bridge’s agenda.
Paul Ryan defends Taiwan phone call.
Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin said Tuesday that it was “prudent” for President-elect Trump to accept a call from the leader of Taiwan, a move that has been sharply criticized as an affront to China.
“I think for him to not take a congratulatory call would in and of itself be considered a snub,” Mr. Ryan told reporters.
Mr. Ryan, who added that he had recently spoken to the Taiwanese president himself during a layover at a Miami airport, declined to comment on the appropriateness of Mr. Trump’s subsequent Twitter posts about the call.
“You think I’m going to sit here and comment on the daily tweets?” he said. “I’m just not going to do that.”
Mr. Ryan’s defense came as evidence piles up that the call from the Taiwanese president, Tsai Ing-wen, was not a simple congratulations but a thought-through effort to disrupt the foreign policy status quo. The Wall Street Journal reported that the call was facilitated by former Senator Bob Dole, who has a long history of lobbying for Taiwan.
“It’s fair to say that we may have had some influence,” Mr. Dole, the former Kansas senator and Republican presidential nominee, said.
A Republican elector won’t vote for Trump.
Christopher Suprun, a Republican elector from Texas, announced in The New York Times on Monday that he would not cast his vote for Mr. Trump when the Electoral College convenes — and a group of academics and lawyers are trying to coax more “faithless” electors to follow suit.
As Mr. Suprun explained it:
The United States was set up as a republic. Alexander Hamilton provided a blueprint for states’ votes. Federalist 68 argued that an Electoral College should determine if candidates are qualified, not engaged in demagogy, and independent from foreign influence. Mr. Trump shows us again and again that he does not meet these standards. Given his own public statements, it isn’t clear how the Electoral College can ignore these issues, and so it should reject him.
To give encouragement, and legal support, the Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig and the law firm Durie Tangri have teamed up to start what they are calling the Electors Trust, offering free counsel to other electors pondering Mr. Suprun’s route.
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