Technology Leaders Call Trump a ‘Disaster For Innovation’

July 14, 2016, 8:09 PM UTC
Presumptive Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump Gives Speech On Veterans Reform
Photograph by Bloomberg via Getty Images

A group of over 100 technology CEOs, founders, and executives have published a letter saying that presumed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump “would be a disaster for innovation” if he is elected to office.

The letter, published Thursday, is a highly visible and unusual attack—at least during a typical presidential campaign—against Trump over his proposed immigration policies, bombastic comments about race and religion, and his repeated insults against women. They said Trump has a “reckless disregard for our legal and political institutions” and has “poor judgment and ignorance about how technology works.”

Among those who signed the letter include former Twitter executive and Obama administration employee Katie Jacobs Stanton, Slack founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield, former US chief technology officer Aneesh Chopra, IAC chairman Barry Diller, Qualcomm chairman Paul Jacobs, venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, Twilio’s CEO Jeff Lawson, Box CEO Aaron Levie, and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

The letter reads: “We stand against Donald Trump’s divisive candidacy and want a candidate who embraces the ideals that built America’s technology industry: freedom of expression, openness to newcomers, equality of opportunity, public investments in research and infrastructure, and respect for the rule of law.”

In particular, the group takes issue with Trump’s immigration policy, his attacks against minorities and women, and his views on “shutting down parts of the internet.”

The group writes further, “His reckless disregard for our legal and political institutions threatens to upend what attracts companies to start and scale in America. He risks distorting markets, reducing exports, and slowing job creation.”

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In contrast, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton has received an outpouring of support from the technology sector, which typically leans left with a smattering of libertarian views mixed in. Silicon Valley venture capitalist John Doerr, Anne Wojcicki, co-founder and CEO of 23andme, Salesforce CEO and founder Marc Benioff, Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg, and Google’s Eric Schmidt have all publicly supported Clinton for president.

However, none of them signed the letter. Also absent were any other top executives from leading Silicon Valley companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple.

One tech luminary who isn’t in the Clinton camp is PayPal co-founder, investor and early Facebook-backer Peter Thiel, who is scheduled to speak at the Republican National Convention next week in support of Trump.

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