Among all the leaders in tech, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos probably had the most contentious relationship with president-elect Donald Trump.
The two publicly criticised each other on many occasions, with Trump once warning that Amazon would have “problems” if he became president.
So the anticipation was high leading up to Wednesday’s tech summit, when Bezos finally got to have his first face-to-face meeting with Trump.
And judging by the way Bezos introduced himself, he clearly wants to make nice with Trump now.
“Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com. Super excited about the possibilities this could be the innovation administration,” Bezos said, as Trump went around the table asking every CEO to briefly introduce themselves.
Bezos also sent us this statement:
“I found today’s meeting with the President-elect, his transition team, and tech leaders to be very productive. I shared the view that the administration should make innovation one of its key pillars, which would create a huge number of jobs across the whole country, in all sectors, not just tech — agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing — everywhere.”
So for now, it looks like the two men will let bygones be bygones.
Bezos certainly put a lot more thought into his introduction than some of the other CEOs sho just gave their title and company name. It’s perhaps his way of showing respect to the president-elect, but it could also be seen as a subtle knock on Trump’s administration that’s expected to be more focused on infrastructure development than technology innovation.
In any case, Bezos has every reason to extend an olive branch with the incoming administration. Amazon has grown so much in recent years that its business
interests are tightly linked to government policies, across areas like sales tax, net neutrality, immigration, and shipping, just to name a few. It’s one reason why Amazon has significantly increased its lobbying expenditures in recent years.
Trump’s response to the tech leaders was encouraging. He told them to call him and his associates directly if they ever needed anything, while applauding the tech sectors’ accomplishments.
“I’m here to help you folks do well…we want you to keep going with the incredible innovation. There’s nobody like you in the world. There’s nobody like the people in this room,” Trump said.
But despite all the nice words that went around, Bezos’s facial expression, seen below, alongside Google/Alphabet’s Larry Page and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, didn’t show a whole lot of confidence.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.