U.S. President Donald Trump intends to huddle with top technology executives in early June to discuss ways to modernize the federal government, a White House official confirmed today.
The gathering is part of a new effort called the American Technology Council, commissioned by Trump in an executive order signed this morning. The group aims to bring leading government officials together with Silicon Valley’s top minds in order to “transform and modernize” the aging federal bureaucracy “and how it uses and delivers information.”
The White House declined on Monday to share a list of tech executives it had asked to attend its planned June meeting. But sources familiar with the Trump administration’s thinking told Recode that the president’s team had reached out to companies like Apple, Amazon, Cisco, Facebook, Google, IBM, Intel, Oracle, Salesforce and SpaceX. Many of those companies joined Trump’s so-called tech summit in New York City last year.
This time, it is not clear who, if anyone, those tech giants plan to send to Washington. Nearly all of them did not comment for this story. Only Oracle confirmed that CEO Safra Catz, who advised Trump during his transition into office, intends to participate. IBM CEO Virginia Rometty also appears likely attend, according to a source.
Leading the new council will be Chris Liddell, a former Microsoft executive tapped by Trump in the early days of his presidency specifically to work with the private sector, a White House official said.
Liddell will help direct a team that includes cabinet secretaries and other senior aides, including the government’s chief technology officer. But the council appears likely to kick off its work without many tech experts actually at the table, as Trump hasn’t nominated a CTO — and has left a number of other key federal science and technology posts vacant.
Trump isn’t the first sitting U.S. president to look to Silicon Valley in an attempt to bring government into the digital age. His predecessor, former President Barack Obama, similarly launched efforts like the U.S. Digital Service, which the administration billed at the time as a “startup at the White House” that sought to pair tech experts with federal agencies that needed help.
For Obama, transforming Washington for the digital age proved a gargantuan task, and for Trump, it’s sure to be even more difficult. The added challenge for him: Growing unpopularity in the very part of the country where government is trying to solicit tech expertise in the first place.
Whenever the industry’s executives have tried to advise the president, they’ve been met with fierce protest in liberal-leaning Silicon Valley. A number of frustrated IBM employees drafted a petition criticizing Rometty, for example, after she huddled with Trump in December. Embattled Uber CEO Travis Kalanick faced a similar backlash from his employees, leading him to pull out entirely from the first meeting of Trump’s other business advisory board. Most recently, a Silicon Valley investor even pledged a $2 million national advertising campaign to get Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk to stop helping the White House.
Axios first reported some details of Trump’s plans.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.