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Despite Past Differences, Trump Meets With Tech Industry Leaders

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In New York, President-elect Donald Trump met with a group of tech executives today. Leaders from Google, Apple, Facebook and several others joined the meeting at Trump Tower. Here's some of what Trump had to say at the start.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: I'm here to help you folks do well, and 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. But we're going to try and have that bounce continue, and perhaps even more importantly, we want you to keep going with the incredible innovation. There's nobody like you in the world.

CORNISH: NPR's Brian Naylor joins me now in the studio to talk about this meeting. Hey, there, Brian.

BRIAN NAYLOR, BYLINE: Hi, Audie.

CORNISH: Let's start with that bit about the bounce. What does that mean?

NAYLOR: (Laughter) So, well, the bounce is in the stock market, which has been doing very well since Election Day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average almost reached the magical 20,000 mark today, although it closed a bit lower. Interestingly, though, tech stocks haven't endured quite the rise the rest of the stock market has.

CORNISH: So help us understand what Trump meant when he said that this group has to like him at least a little bit.

NAYLOR: A little bit - well, it's no secret that most of Silicon Valley backed Hillary Clinton in the election, and Trump openly feuded with some tech companies during the campaign. He called for a boycott of Apple over its refusal to help the government unlock an iPhone used by the San Bernardino shooter last December. He also criticized Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon and the owner of The Washington Post, over The Post's reporting during the campaign. Here's what he said about Bezos back in May.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: This is owned as a toy by Jeff Bezos, who controls Amazon. Amazon is getting away with murder tax-wise. He's using The Washington Post for power so that the politicians in Washington don't tax Amazon like they should be taxed.

NAYLOR: So, interestingly, Bezos was in the room today, along with Tim Cook of Apple, along with Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook and many others, as well Trump's adult children.

CORNISH: So is the sense here that Trump is letting bygones be bygones?

NAYLOR: I think there's a little bit of fence-mending going on. We don't know exactly what went on in the room when the cameras weren't there, but it's safe to say there are some big issues on the table that both sides want to see resolved. The tech companies - very reliant on highly skilled immigrants coming to the U.S. - and so that's a concern for them, given Trump's thoughts on immigration. China is a big issue, not only in terms of the products that U.S. tech companies manufacture there, but also as a market for their products. There are fears that a trade war could have a negative effect on their bottom lines.

CORNISH: And in the meantime, Trump told them, give me a call, right? He says he has no formal chain of command.

NAYLOR: Yeah, he seemed to want to open up some lines of communication. He and the tech leaders would like to see from Trump - the companies have billions of dollars in profits sitting overseas that they say they would bring home if tax rates were lower. And that's one area where they and the president-elect do see eye-to-eye - lowering corporate tax rates.

CORNISH: That's NPR's Brian Naylor. Brian, thank you.

NAYLOR: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.