President-elect Donald Trump today held a meeting with a variety of tech leaders at Trump Tower in New York City, including Tim Cook, Larry Page, Elon Musk, and others. Notably excluded from the invite list, however, was Twitter. According to Politico, Twitter was “bounced” from the meeting because it refused to create an emoji version of the “#CrookedHillary” hashtag during the campaign season.
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The report, which cites a “source close to the situation,” explains that the Trump Campaign wanted to create an emoji to go alongside the #CrookedHillary hashtag that depicted “small bags of money being given away or stolen.” The emoji would have been offered as a replacement for the hashtag, which is something Twitter has done in the past for various notable events.
According to a Medium post from the campaign’s director of digital advertising and fundraising Gary Coby, however, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey stepped in at the last minute to block the deal from happening. In total, Trump’s deal with Twitter would have been worth $5 million. Coby called this move by Dorsey “reckless and dangerous” for a public platform such as Twitter.
Today’s report details that RNC spokesman Sean Spicer, who is an adviser to Trump’s transition team, personally made the call to refuse an invaitiaon to Dorsey or any other member of Twitter’s executive team. The meeting at Trump Tower was organized by Trump advisor and Facebook board member Peter Thiel.
The move is ironic when you think about Trump’s reliance on Twitter throughout the campaign and even following it. Trump has repeatedly used the platform as a way to criticize others, discuss plans for his administration, and more. Even since Trump won the election, he’s continued to use Twitter as a form of communication with the public, both for good and bad.
Trump’s spats with other companies throughout the campaign, however, didn’t cause them to lose an invite. For instance, Trump publicly called for a boycott of Apple after it refused to unlock the iPhone in the San Bernardino case, while he’s also declared that he will “get Apple to build its computers and things” in the United States. Furthermore, Trump has a been a firm denier of climate change, which obviously doesn’t sit well with Elon Musk and others in attendance.
Update: A report from Reuters also makes the claim that Trump blocked Twitter from the event for the emoji blockage but obviously the Trump camp is denying it.
One source familiar with Trump’s relationship with Twitter said the decision to exclude Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey was motivated by the president-elect’s ire at the company, which rejected an advertising deal with his campaign in October.
Trump’s election campaign had offered to pay to have an emoji, or small picture, that would show up on tweets during the second presidential debate anytime Twitter users tweeted the phrase “#Crooked Hillary,” Republican Trump’s nickname for his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.