President Trump has apparently found support in an unlikely place: the deep-blue, Clinton-voting, “forward-thinking population” of the tech industry.
According to influential tech lobbyist Gary Shapiro, Trump “has been great for business and really, really good for tech.” Shapiro’s organization, the Consumer Technology Association, represents the likes of Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Google.
In an interview with The New York Times, Shapiro claimed he voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election and is not a fan of Trump’s policies on immigration and the environment. But despite those differences, he told the Times, the president “isn’t Hitler or Mussolini” and “disagreement in one area does not mean we cannot work together in others.”
He quipped: “Everyone who is married knows that.”
The Times reported that Trump has indeed proven beneficial to tech giants like Facebook. The recent corporate tax cuts have been a boon for Silicon Valley; and the lack of regulatory attention on tech acquisitions and mergers have been even better. The push towards 5G development and increased aggressiveness against perennial competitor China seemingly has the Valley smiling.
White House Deputy Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios also acknowledged to the Times that the tech world and Trump don’t agree on every issue but “in places where we do see eye to eye, I think we’re achieving extraordinary success.”
And while the business side has experienced smooth sailing, the political optics haven’t been so great. Facebook, Twitter, and Google were all recently subjected to congressional inquiry for their role in housing Russian troll farms that proliferated “fake news” during the 2016 election. Facebook has come under further fire for its role in a scandal involving Trump-aligned research firm Cambridge Analytica’s surreptitious use of breached user data to help sway elections.
It’s a balancing act, another top lobbyist, Dean Garfield of the Information Technology Industry Council’s told the Times. “We have reached balance in the tightrope.”