Democracy Dies in Darkness

The Switch

Elon Musk and the chief executive of Uber are now advising Donald Trump

By Brian Fung

December 14, 2016 at 8:49 AM

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk. (Hector Guerrero/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

The heads of Uber and Tesla are taking on strategic advisory roles with President-elect Donald Trump.

Travis Kalanick, the chief executive of Uber, and Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla, will "meet with the president frequently" and offer their expertise to Trump as part of his Strategic and Policy Forum, Trump officials said.

The announcement came hours ahead of a major meeting between Trump and tech executives Wednesday. Musk is expected to attend, along with top execs from Apple, Facebook, Google and a handful of other companies. Wednesday's meeting marks the first time Trump will have met with senior leaders of an entire industry. Kalanick was invited but reportedly will not be attending, because of travel.

Related: [What Silicon Valley execs plan to tell Trump this week]

Musk's role is particularly notable in light of his criticism of Trump during the presidential campaign. Musk had said Trump was "not the right guy" for the Oval Office.

"He doesn't seem to have the sort of character that reflects well on the United States," he told CNBC in November.

Kalanick has poked at Trump on occasion himself. Before an audience of college students in October 2015, he joked: "Oh my god, Donald Trump's gonna win. I'm going to move to China if Donald Trump wins."

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President-elect Donald Trump held a meeting with several key Silicon Valley leaders December 14. Here's what we know about that meeting. (Jhaan Elker/The Washington Post)

It's no secret that much of Silicon Valley backed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 race — which is partly why Wednesday's meeting with tech executives represents a watershed moment for an industry that could be powerfully affected by a Trump presidency. Trump already has shown that he can move stocks with little more than a tweet.

Trump had previously announced several other members of the strategy group, including JP Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon, Disney chief executive Bob Iger and Ginny Rometty, the chief executive of IBM.


Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post, focusing on telecommunications, Internet access and the shifting media economy. Before joining The Post, he was the technology correspondent for National Journal and an associate editor at the Atlantic.

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