Trump to tech leaders: 'Everybody in this room has to like me, at least a little bit'

Trump tech meetingGetty/ Drew AngererTrump sits with VP elect Mike Pence, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Alphabet CEO Larry Page and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

The movers and shakers of the tech industry all filed through in a parade of billionaires to Trump Tower to meet with him as he puts together his administration.

Select reporters were invited to watch and Bradd Jaffy, a senior news editor for NBC Nightly News, filmed a bit of video and posted it to Twitter.

In it, Trump welcomed his visitors, effusively thanked his long-time supporter, billionaire venture investor Peter Thiel, and told the people in the room that he wants to help them to thrive.

These tech titans want Trump to allow them to bring stashes of offshore cash to the U.S. for low taxes, to be used for acquisition, investment, and dividends or bonuses. Offshore cash is not taxed by the US until it is spent in the US, when it’s then subject to the corporate rate of 35%. Much of the cash is offshore because it is earned overseas, but businesses use various tax code laws to assign cash to overseas operations, thereby avoiding paying US taxes on it until they decide to spend it onshore. 

Some of the tech leaders in attendance also want Trump to change the immigration laws to make it easier for them to hire overseas workers and bring them to the US, in addition to making it easier to keep college grads in the US. That idea might not sit well with Trump’s base, who liked his earlier promises to increase US jobs and restrict US companies from hiring offshore workers.

Trump’s mood was jovial. He told them:

“I’m here to help you folks do well. You’re doing well right now and I’m very honored by the ‘bounce.’ They’re all talking about the ‘bounce’ so right now everybody in this room has to like me, at least a little bit,” he said, smiling.

“But we’re going to try and have that bounce continue. Even more importantly, 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,” he said. He invited the CEOs in the room to call him and his associates directly if they ever needed anything.

Then he mentioned a few people by name, including former Goldman Sachs COO Gary Cohn, who Trump has appointed as director of his National Economic Council, and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross.

Trump told the tech giants that he’s going to revisit trade deals and “make it a lot easier for you to trade across borders” and “if you have any ideas on that, that would great … you probably have less of a problem than some companies.”

Trump to tech leaders: “You’ll call my people, you’ll call me — it doesn’t make any difference — we have no formal chain of command around here” pic.twitter.com/F4jBKA38zU
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) December 14, 2016

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