By Blake Neff – Apple CEO Tim Cook, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and several other tech titans held a private retreat with GOP leaders over the weekend where the main topic was how to stop Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, the Huffington Post reports.
The meeting was held at Sea Island, Ga., the site of the American Enterprise Institute’s World Forum. GOP figures at the gathering reportedly included Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell , House Speaker Paul Ryan , and Karl Rove. Sens. Tom Cotton , Rob Portman , Tim Scott , Cory Gardner and Ben Sasse (who has already said he would not back Trump in the general election) where also present, while House representation included Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers , Tom Price , Kevin Brady , and Fred Upton , among others.
Other tech figures who reportedly attended the meeting included Google co-founder Larry Page and Napster founder Sean Parker.
The whole affair was off the record and closed to the press, so exactly what happened and what viewpoints were expressed is unclear. But according to HuffPo, the primary topic of conversation was Trump’s rise, what caused it and what, if anything, might undermine him. One highlight of the event was a presentation by Rove, who reportedly argued Trump’s biggest political weakness is the public’s difficulty viewing him as a “presidential” figure.
While Silicon Valley is generally known as a liberal place, there may be ample reason for Republicans and tech leaders to form a common cause against Trump. While Republicans fear Trump is hijacking and derailing the party and dooming them in November, tech bosses are menaced by Trump’s rhetoric on trade and his promise to cut down on the number of H-1B visas for skilled immigrant workers.
Sometimes the attendees clashed with one another, though. Notably, Cotton allegedly became “hostile” towards Cook when discussing Apple’s battle with the FBI about decrypting cell phones.
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