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How Silicon Valley reacted to the Trump inauguration

JP Mangalindan
Chief Tech Correspondent
Members of Silicon Valley were relatively swift in their criticisms of President Trump’s inauguration via social media. Source: Getty Images

America has a new a president in Donald Trump, and Silicon Valley’s reaction to the inauguration of the country’s 45th president was unsurprisingly swift.

Thoughts on social media, particularly Twitter (TWTR), were far from positive, with members of the tech community expressing disdain for Trump overall, as well as displeasure with specific moments from the inauguration.

Michael Solana, vice president at Founders Fund, the San Francisco-based venture capital firm co-founded by billionaire investor and Trump transition team member Peter Thiel, sent out a Tweet mocking Trump’s negative tone about the state of the nation.


Meanwhile, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s former speechwriter, Dex Torricke-Barton, seemed less than optimistic that Trump would improve the state of the country.


Barton made something of a splash in the tech industry last November when he quit his job as head of communications at Elon Musk’s SpaceX to focus on grassroots work to combat the rise of Trump.

For his part, Sam Altman, president of the respected startup incubator YCombinator, went a step further than sending out a critical tweet. The 31-year-old high-profile member of the technorati announced via Twitter he had spent the last several weeks building Track Trump, a website that promises to track whether Trump fulfills his stated goals for his first 100 days in office.


But perhaps this tweet from tech media relations executive Brooke Hammerling summed things up best for many members of the tech community:


Silicon Valley’s reactions shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Historically speaking, many members of the tech community lean Democrat or Libertarian, albeit with a greater focus on social issues, with pro-immigration and pro-trade positions. Indeed, roughly 50% of the country’s “unicorns” — private companies with $1 billion-plus valuations — have at least one immigrant founder at the helm, according to a report this March from the National Foundation For American Policy.

Trump does have one very high-profile tech leader in his camp, though: Peter Thiel. One of Thiel’s college friends, Khosla Ventures partner and former Square COO Keith Rabois, refrained from directly weighing in on Trump’s inauguration.

But Rabois did express his distaste for Obamacare, Obama’s signature healthcare law, in a Twitter exchange while Trump was being sworn to office.


While Rabois was no fan of Obamacare, he didn’t appear to be a big fan of Trump, either — as he donated $50,000 to a “never Trump” political action committee.

JP Mangalindan is a senior correspondent for Yahoo Finance covering the intersection of tech and business. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.  

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