We recently learned that Tim Cook and Sheryl Sandberg were among a handful of tech moguls being summoned to Donald Trump's gilded lair for a mysterious summit this week, but the full roster of invitees remained unknown. Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal revealed another name on the President-elect's guest list: Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
The exact purpose of the meeting between some of America's most successful businesspeople and Donald Trump is still unclear. If Peter Thiel's alleged recruitment efforts are any indication, the summit will serve as an opportunity for Silicon Valley leaders to share their ideas with the next President of the United States.
If it's like a similar post-election gathering of media organisations at Trump Tower (described by one attendee as a "fucking firing squad"), however, Musk and company will probably be asked to bow before the American Empire's new god-king.
As the Journal notes, Musk potentially has far more at stake than his peers:
SpaceX's single largest customer is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which over the past eight years has awarded contracts valued at more than $US6.5 ($9) billion to deliver cargo and eventually, U.S. astronauts, to the international space station. The company also seeks to win hundreds of millions of dollars of additional contracts from the U.S. Air Force over the next few years.
Tesla benefits from government tax credits that reduce the effective price of its vehicles. The electric car maker recently acquired SolarCity Corp., a company founded by Mr. Musk's cousins that installs solar panels, a portion of the cost of which can be offset by federal tax credits.
Even under the best circumstances, however, the summit seems unlikely to be the kind of meeting of minds Silicon Valley Trump supporters like Thiel might hope for.
"Look, this is obviously a circus," a source told Recode. "Everyone in tech just wants to be invisible right now when it comes to this administration, but has to participate since we have done it before."