This morning’s Observer column:
On Wednesday, a curious spectacle could be observed in New York. A swarm of tech billionaires arrived in their private jets and were whisked to Trump Tower, the Louis XV pastiche that is the residence of Trumplethinskin, as the tech journalist Kara Swisher calls the president-elect.
The roll call of assembled tech moguls ran as follows: Satya Natella and Brad Smith (Microsoft), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Larry Page and Eric Schmidt (Alphabet, Google’s holding company), Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook), Tim Cook (Apple), Elon Musk (Tesla), Ginni Rometty (IBM), Safra Catz (Oracle), Chuck Robbins (Cisco), Alex Karp (Palantir) and Brian Krzanich (Intel).
Apart from their vast wealth and an aversion to paying tax, what linked these notables? Answer: a deep loathing of Trumplethinskin. Yet when he issued the summons to his preposterous “summit” they all came running. Why?
Most of those attending were tightlipped afterwards Kara Swisher extracted some impressions. She quoted one of the attendees as admitting that it was a bit of a humiliation.
“We definitely gave up a little stature now for possible benefit later,” said one source, noting that it was the price of being a public company with a tweet-happy new U.S. leader. “It’s better to be quiet now and speak up later if we have to, and save our powder.”
Which provides an interesting confirmation of the point I made in the column about the perceived power of a Trump tweet.