President Donald Trump summoned his technology A-team to the White House on Monday for the first meeting of the American Technology Council, continuing the delicate relationship between his administration and Silicon Valley.
While tech leaders — or their companies — have spoken out against some Trump policies, including withdrawing the U.S. 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.
It was also a chance for Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, who is heading up the American Technology Council, to make rare public remarks.
Kushner spoke of the need to modernize government IT systems to create huge savings and "meaningfully improve the lives of Americans." He said federal agencies operate 6,100 data centers, with some using systems that are decades old. He gave the example of the Pentagon still using floppy disks in legacy systems.
"Together we will unleash the creativity of the private sector to provide citizen services in a way that has never happened before," Kushner said. "We will foster a new set of start-ups focused on gov-tech and be a global leader in the field making government more transparent and responsive to citizens' needs."
The group, which included administration officials, then broke to attend an afternoon of working sessions on topics including big data, citizen services, H-1B visas (for highly skilled foreign workers) and cloud computing.
The executives in attendance also included Safra Catz, Co-Chief Executive of Oracle; Alex Karp, CEO of Palantir; Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel; Tom Leighton, CEO of Akamai; Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP; Steven Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm; Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft; and Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM.
While the list reads like a "who's who" of the tech world, there were some notable absences. Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk quit two of Trump's advisory councils after the president's Paris climate decision.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who quit Trump's advisory council in February under mounting pressure, did also not attend. Kalanick is currently taking an unspecified leave from the helm at Uber as the company looks to move past a tumultuous few months.
Also notable: No one from Facebook was in attendance. A scheduling conflict prevented the company from sending a representative, according to a person familiar with the matter.