Donald Trump has proven one of the most divisive presidential hopefuls in recent history. Despite making controversial promises to build a wall along the Mexican border and ban Muslims from entering the US, he seems to have struck a chord with certain sections of the American electorate. However, not everyone agrees with his policies. Just as the Apprentice star rolled into the GOP convention this week for his official coronation as the Republican candidate, over 140 tech heavyweights landed a huge blow to his campaign.
In an open letter originally released on the online publishing platform Medium, 146 Silicon Valley veterans have penned a damning indictment of the presidential hopeful. “Trump would be a disaster for innovation,” they wrote.
Amongst the co-signers were Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple; Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay; Ev Williams, co-founder of Twitter; Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder of the Facebook; Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit; Dinesh Moorjani, the co-founder of Tinder and founder of Hatch Labs; and Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia. Some of the digital luminaries behind companies like Flickr, Hyperloop One, Yelp, Tumblr, 500 Startups, Bitly, Snapchat, Dropbox and Samsung also signed the letter, as did Silicon Valley bright sparks like super angel Chris Sacca, The Lean Startup author Eric Ries and investor Arielle Zuckerberg.
The letter argued that the most significant damper on innovation would come from Trump’s views on immigration. “He campaigns on anger, bigotry, fear of new ideas and new people and a fundamental belief that America is weak and in decline,” it said. Pointing out that 40% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants and their children, the letter claimed Trump’s campaign is incompatible with the realities of the modern business landscape. “His vision stands against the open exchange of ideas, free movement of people and productive engagement with the outside world that is critical to our economy — and that provide the foundation for innovation and growth,” it continued.
The business leaders also expressed their concern over Trump’s notion to shut down “part of the internet as a security strategy” and his “penchant to censor extends to revoking press credentials and threatening to punish media platforms that criticize him.” While refraining from directly endorsing Democrat candidate Hilary Clinton, the letter stressed the need for a more open approach to both technology and the world at large. “We embrace an optimistic vision for a more inclusive country, where American innovation continues to fuel opportunity, prosperity and leadership,” it concluded.
Such fierce opposition from the tech sector’s brightest minds may have fired up the Apprentice star but he hasn’t made a huge deal of the letter publicly. Instead Trump has opted to keep his mouth uncharacteristically shut about Silicon Valley superstars’ salvo.