As Inauguration Day approaches, President-elect Donald Trump has been busy filling out his team of cabinet members and advisors. This includes nominating players in the oil industry and deniers of climate change to key administrative positions. In what feels like an unlikely move, Trump has announced that he has named Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk to his Strategic and Policy Forum. Also among the newest additions to this group of advisors is Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.
The purpose of the President's Strategic and Policy Forum is to share their knowledge in order to help the administration shape policy. "My Administration is going to work together with the private sector to improve the business climate and make it attractive for firms to create new jobs across the United States from Silicon Valley to the heartland," says Trump.
Elon Musk, on the other hand, has been outspoken about the fossil fuel industry, climate change, and politicians catering to lobbyists. He has even criticized Trump himself (Trump's team has swiped back, too). While the incoming President is certainly more concerned about the employment rate than reducing greenhouse gas emissions, there's little doubt that Musk will use his access to the President to stress what he sees as an inevitable shift away from fossil fuels toward cleaner energy and transport.
Interestingly, Silicon Valley largely opposed Trump in the election, with the notable exception of venture capitalist and Palantir Chairman Peter Thiel. Uber's Travis Kalanick, though, sounds positive about working with Trump. "I look forward to engaging with our incoming President and this group on issues that affect our riders, drivers, and the 450+ cities where we operate," he says.
Among the group expected to meet with the President-elect today are Facebook COO Cheryl Sandberg, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and Alphabet CEO Larry Page. We'll see how that goes.