What do long-term Republican policymakers and Silicon Valley’s richest, brightest, and most influential have in common? They’re all scared shitless of Donald Trump.
According to The Huffington Post, Silicon Valley’s top CEOs flew to a private island off the coast of Georgia on March 4th, 5th, and 6th and met with other industry titans and political leaders, including many prominent Republicans, for the American Enterprise Institute’s annual World Forum. And Donald J. Trump, (or Drumpf depending who you ask) was on the very top of the agenda. The Huffington Post reports that Apple’s Tim Cook, Google’s Larry Page, Space X and Tesla’s Elon Musk (who absolutely did not donate to Trump), and Facebook investor Sean Parker met with the top brass of the Republican party, including Senate majority Leader Mitch McConnell, former party advisor Karl Rove, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and a long list of Republican (and Democrat) Senators and Representatives. New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger was there, although the event was completely closed to the press and held on a island resort worthy of a Bond villain — but in this case was partially owned by Philip Anschutz, billionaire GOP donor.
In case that long list of names didn’t ring any bells, this was “a big fuckin’ deal,” as Vice President Joe Biden would say.
Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, a conservative magazine, told The Huffington Post that “A specter was haunting the World Forum—the specter of Donald Trump,” paraphrasing the Communist Manifesto in an email. “There was much unhappiness about his emergence, a good deal of talk, some of it insightful and thoughtful, about why he’s done so well, and many expressions of hope that he would be defeated.”
Karl Rove allegedly gave a Trump Roundup-style presentation, showing the assembled oligarchs more how their rogue colleague had bucked the establishment’s reigns than how he could be stopped, according an anonymous source for Huffington Post source, although he did extensively cover Trumps weaknesses. Trump has been vulnerable to hacking, trolling, and even chemistry, but Rove reportedly spoke about how many voters see Trump as a un-Presidential loose cannon who couldn’t be trusted with the responsibility of leading the free world.
But the tech moguls had their say too — Tim Cook took on Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) over Apple’s current battle with the FBI, which could be decided in Congress.
“Cotton was pretty harsh on Cook,” an anonymous source told The Huffington Post and “everyone was a little uncomfortable about how hostile Cotton was.”
The event is hyper-secretive, and almost completely off the record, but journalists were able to guesstimate at the guest list by looking at Federal Aviation Administration records for private jets, which flew into and out of small airports near Georgia’s Sea Island, over the conference’s weekend. Many flew directly back to Silicon Valley, and anonymous sources were able to fill in most of who was there, even if they didn’t publicly announce it. Last year, when the event was held in the middle of a massive East-coast snowstorm, the AEI organizers even refused to tell journalists whether or not it was snowing, so we’re lucky we know as much as we do about this year’s event. While it’s reassuring to know that the richest and most powerful people in the world are committed to stopping Trump, if they’re this worried about him it might be worth looking into other living arrangements for after 2016.