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Technology industry leaders including Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google co-founder Larry Page and Tesla and SpaceX chief Elon Musk met with top GOP representatives at the secretive American Enterprise Institute's annual World Forum this past weekend to discuss how to halt Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, a report said Monday.
According to sources familiar with the meeting, elite U.S. figures representing a swath of corporate, private and political interests attended the conference hosted at the Sea Island resort off the coast of Georgia, an event closed to the public and media, The Huffington Post reports. While other issues were discussed, the main talking point was Trump's bid for the White House.
The supposed guest list reads as a who's who of tech and government. Along with Cook, Page, Musk and Napster creator Sean Parker, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was reportedly on site with House Speaker Paul Ryan, a gaggle of Republican senators and at least one democrat in Maryland Rep. John Delaney. Prominent policy analyst Karl Rove, Deputy Chief of Staff under President George W. Bush, was also present.
The private sector was represented by billionaire Philip Anschutz and The New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, among others.
"A specter was haunting the World Forum— the specter of Donald Trump," political commentator Bill Kristol wrote in an email from the conference, referencing Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto. "There was much unhappiness about his emergence, a good deal of talk, some of it insightful and thoughtful, about why he's done so well, and many expressions of hope that he would be defeated."
Trump infamously called called for a boycott on Apple products in February, a response to the company's resistance against helping FBI agents unlock an iPhone linked to last year's San Bernardino massacre.
The broader encryption debate was also a topic on discussion at the secretive confab, as the report claims Cook sparred with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who serves on the Senate Committee on Armed Services and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
"Cotton was pretty harsh on Cook," a source said. "Everyone was a little uncomfortable about how hostile Cotton was."