Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google parent company Alphabet Inc and a backer of Hillary Clinton, may be courting Republicans ahead of Donald Trump’s presidency.
According to Politico, Schmidt paid a visit to Trump Tower last Thursday and lunched with real estate developer and investor Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law who is set to be heavily involved in Trump’s administration. The visit was Schmidt’s second to Trump Tower after a December “tech summit” meeting in which Trump and Schmidt’s fellow Silicon Valley executives took part.
Last week, Schmidt met with other Republican leaders such as House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden, and Senate Commerce Chairman Greg Walden.
After the election, Schmidt praised Kushner as “the biggest surprise of the 2016 election.” A report by CNBC Wednesday noted that, according to WikiLeaks, Schmidt emailed Clinton campaign manager John Podesta volunteering to recruit for, fund, and advise her campaign.
Now that the political tides have shifted, however, Schmidt may be hoping that currying favor with the Trump administration could be in his company’s interests.
“It is clear that Trump values personal relationships much more than holding a vindictive grudge,” political strategist Stuart Roy said, according to CNBC. “Google is clearly not starting from a strong position, but I do think there is a way they can build that relationship and build that trust.”
In addition to Schmidt, Trump’s group meeting in December included Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, among others. In a statement after the meeting, Bezos said he “shared the view that the administration should make innovation one of its key pillars, which would create a huge number of jobs across the whole country, in all sectors.”