Jared Kushner speaks in public. And Washington takes notice

Jared Kushner speaks in public. And Washington takes notice

Jared Kushner speaks in public. And Washington takes notice

Trump in May created an American Technology Council to modernize the federal government, two months after he signed an order to overhaul government and selected Kushner to lead a White House Office of American Innovation.

Jared Kushner, senior adviser and son-in-law to Trump, welcomed the technology executives, calling them "a very impressive group of leaders from the private sector" being put to work "on some of the country's biggest challenges that will make a very meaningful difference to a lot of its citizens".

The meeting also saw Apple CEO Tim Cook and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in attendance. Also on hand is Trump's daughter and Kushner's wife, senior presidential adviser Ivanka Trump.

U.S. President Donald Trump will meet with the chief executives of technology companies including Apple Inc AAPL.O and Amazon.com Inc AMZN.O on Monday as the White House looks to the private sector for help in cutting government waste and improving information technology services.

"President Trump has made it clear that working toward achieving a lasting peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians is a top priority for him", the White House official said. "Government needs to catch up with the technology revolution". Intel, IBM, Oracle, SAP, Adobe, MasterCard, and more will have representation at the White House encounter. The White House also asked companies whether they would support more leaves of absence for engineers and other employees so they can join the government for temporary tours of duty there, much in the way Barack Obama brought in experts from Google to help fix HealthCare.gov. Facebook FB.O CEO Mark Zuckerberg was invited but could not attend because of a conflict, the company said.

A 2016 U.S. Government Accountability Office report estimated the U.S. government spent more than $80 billion in IT annually, excluding classified operations. "This structure is unsustainable", Kushner said.

The council also seeks to boost the security of United States government IT systems and wants to learn from private-sector practices. Apple CEO Tim Cook plans to raise immigration, a person briefed on the matter said Sunday.

"The US should have the most modern government in the world and today it doesn't", Cook said.

"Our goal is to lead a sweeping transformation of the federal government's technology that will deliver dramatically better services for citizens, stronger protection from cyber attacks, which we were just discussing in the Oval Office with a little bit smaller group", Trump said at the start of the meeting.

Prior to the meeting, the administration sought to downplay tensions between Silicon Valley and the White House. In 2015, hackers exposed the personal information of 22 million people from USA government databases.

Notably absent from this second meeting is Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX, who recently quit as an outside economic advisor to the president in protest of Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change.

However, only one of the major tech companies opted not to attend Monday's White House meeting: Facebook was invited, but chose to sit this one out, according to a Recode report.

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