An effort by President Donald Trump to harness the likes of Apple, Amazon and Google toward modernizing the U.S. government will continue its work, even as top business leaders — including some prominent tech executives — have resigned from posts advising the White House on a wide range of economic issues.
The war between the Trump administration and corporate America reached new intensity on Wednesday, after the leaders from Merck, Intel, Pepsi, IBM, JPMorgan Chase and other major companies opted to stop participating on two key councils assisting the president. The catalyst: Trump’s widely denounced comments about the neo-Nazi demonstrations that turned deadly in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend.
But the White House isn’t ready to give up on another group, the American Technology Council, one of many initiatives under the watch of his son-in-law and top adviser, Jared Kushner.
Technically, the so-called ATC never had corporate members in the first place. Even though the group has held meetings that included Apple CEO Tim Cook, Amazon leader Jeff Bezos and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella — which happened at a so-called “tech week” blitz at the White House in June — the executive order commissioning the project only tapped government employees, not private-sector bigwigs, as formal participants.
“The council is full steam ahead on its work assisting the modernizing of government IT, which is primarily being done through internal government resources,” a White House official told Recode. “The council will continue to occasionally consult with the private sector on specific issue areas like improving cloud rollout, cybersecurity and digital services for [veterans].”
So far, not one of those tech participants has sworn off further efforts aiding the council. But Silicon Valley’s leading executives are growing “less comfortable standing next to the president as if to support all of his thinking,” said Dean Garfield, the president of…