As we reported earlier, thousands of Google employees staged protests on Monday over Trump's executive order on immigration with Bloomberg noting that more than two thousand Google employees participated across several offices.
What we did not report, however, is what Google executive chairman and staunch Hillary supporter - recall the leaked Podesta email which revealed Google's strategic plan to help Democrats win the election - Eric Schmidt told an earlier audience of Google employees. Quoting BuzzFeed, the CEO of one of the world's biggest and most influential companies said that the "Trump administration is “going to do these evil things as they’ve done in the immigration area and perhaps some others."
For a company whose original motto was "don't be evil", but was changed to "do the right thing" when Google became Alphabet, one would expect Google to be an expert in such matters, and yet questions remain.
Schmidt’s opposition to Trump's immigration policy is noteworthy, according to the website, "because Schmidt has at least twice traveled to Trump Tower to meet with the president and his advisers, but has struggled to gain a foothold in Trump’s circle." As reported extensively here, Schmidt had close ties to the Obama administration and supported Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president, facts not lost on Trump’s advisers. More recently, Google hired the infamous Eric Braverman, the former Clinton Foundation CEO, to "oversee the non-investment side of the family office of Alphabet Inc. Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and his wife, Wendy."
Schmidt's full transcript per Buzzfeed:
“I can tell you that the tone of this government is very much economic growth,” Schmidt told employees, according to the transcript provided by a source. “And so I think at the end of the day, they are going to do these evil things as they’ve done in the immigration area and perhaps some others, but the core focus is going to be to get the growth rate in the country — which is roughly one and a half to two percent — up another point by simply pushing through increases in federal spending and overcoming the tea party.”
In short, it is clear why there is bad blood between Schmidt and Trump, and it will only get worse should Trump put limits on Google's H1-B hiring ambitions.
It also appears that any negotiations between Trump and Google are now over, and if Trump feels particularly vindictive, he could do some serious damage to Google's infamous offshore tax avoidance structures.
In the past, Google had justified its meetings with Trump by arguing that it was better to work behind the scenes than make public statements that could alienate people the company needs to work with. “But meeting with Trump was a public statement,” one Google employee told BuzzFeed News on Monday. Referring to a “summit” meeting of tech leaders at Trump Tower, the employee continued, “Eric meeting privately with Trump after the summit was a public statement because that was reported on. So they have made public statements, just not ones — before this weekend — that resist the immigration [order].”
In this particular case, the statement may have also meant fully burning down any bridge connecting the company to the White House.
According to an earlier report by Vice about the same meeting, Schmidt told employees that he had tried to fight the immigration order. “These prejudicial actions are discriminatory and anti-globalization, and I did everything I could to cause a different outcome,” he said. “There are limits to what we can do, there’s no question if the company is asked to do something that’s counter to our values, we would oppose it and actively fight it.”
According to a previous report by the NYT, in early January just as Congress began its new session, Google threw a "swanky" party for 600 people in Washington, DC, celebrating Republican lawmakers. The NYT said that Schmidt’s “East Coast charm offensive” with Republican political leaders is part of Google’s effort to dispel the idea that it is a bastion for Democrats. It appears to have failed in this endeavor.