Jared Kushner speaks at tech event

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the administration was focusing on technology this week. Among those attending included Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, who castigated Trump for his travel ban and the USA withdrawal from the Paris climate treaty.

In May, Trump created an American Technology Council, his latest effort since taking office to modernize the US government.

This was due to "a conflict" according to the company - which did not smother rumours that the CEO is seeking to distance himself from the Trump administration as he considers his own presidential bid in the future.

"To effectuate this policy, the Federal Government must transform and modernize its information technology and how it uses and delivers digital services".

Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, made some of his first public remarks since joining the administration when he spoke Monday at an event for the American Technology Council.

The event was hosted by the White House Office of American Innovation and the American Technology Council, which is led by Kushner. An alumnus of Harvard University and later New York University School of Law, Kushner married Ivanka Trump in 2009.

Only the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, was unable to attend after being invited.

In May, Trump asked lawmakers to cut $3.6 trillion in government spending over the next decade, taking aim at healthcare and food assistance programs for the poor in a budget that also boosted spending on defense.

His idea is to consolidate most of the government's costly 6,100 data centres onto the cloud.

Notably absent from this second meeting is Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX, who recently quit as an outside economic advisor to the president in protest of Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The outdated technology systems, used by other government agencies, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Justice, include the use of COBOL.

"The U.S. should have the most modern government in the world, and today it doesn't", said Cook during the open-door session of the roundtable.

Before meeting with Trump, the CEOs met in 10 small group sessions with Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, along with the presidents of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Ohio State University. No comment from Apple or White House so far.

The meeting was also notable for who didn't attend.

  • Zachary Reyes