Trump’s not a tech guy, that much we know. He reportedly doesn’t have much time for a cell phone or email. During a CNN town hall moderated by Anderson Cooper, he said that he largely composes tweets by, “shout it out to one of the young ladies who are tremendous. I’ll just shout it out, and they’ll do it.”
But while he’ll never be an early adopter (and he may or may not actually use a computer), the president-elect’s policies will have a wide-ranging impact on technology, which in turn will continue to play a larger role in our personal and professional lives.
While technology was never a centerpiece to Trump’s campaign, the candidate has touched upon the space from time to time during interviews, speeches and debates. What follows are some of what we can perhaps expect from a Trump presidency.
Forcing Apple to build their damn computers in the U.S.: Trump has had some pretty tough words for Cupertino. Five days after Valentine’s Day, he called for a boycott of the company’s products over its encryption stance following the San Bernardino mass shooting and bombing attempt.
A month prior, the candidate harnessed his distrust of China to announce his plans to quite literally make Apple manufacture its products in the United States. “We’re going to get Apple to build their damn computers and things in this country instead of in other countries,” he told a crowd at the University of Virginia. The candidate also made promises about Ford cars and Oreo cookies.
Cut climate change spending: In interviews, Trump had a lot to say about the matter. Mostly involving the fact that he doesn’t believe it exists. Or that it’s not man-made. Or if it is man-made, it’s part of a man-made hoax perpetrated by China. Speaking with CNN in September, he stated, “I believe in clean air. Immaculate. But I don’t believe in climate change.”
In a tweet from 2012, Trump stated, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” A few years later, when complaining in earnest, he would write the statement off as a “joke,” but continued to call the phenomenon a hoax, stating that the U.S. ought to stop spending money on it.
Here’s one such statement from a December 2015 rally. “Obama’s talking about all of this with the global warming and … a lot of it’s a hoax. It’s a hoax. I mean, it’s a money-making industry, okay? It’s a hoax, a lot of it.” Seems pretty clear. He has also cited cold weather as proof of the aforementioned H-word.
Problems for Jeff Bezos: “If I become president, do they have problems,” Trump said back in February, referring to Jeff Bezos and Amazon. “They’re going to have such problems.” At the time, the candidate was taking specific issue with this fellow billionaire’s purchase of The Washington Post. He’s accused Bezos of using the Clinton-endorsing paper as both a tax shelter and a method for swaying political influence to benefit himself and Amazon.
For his part, Bezos reserved Trump a special (one assumes one-way) ticket on one of his Blue Origin rockets.
NASA needs to leave low orbit and stop studying Earth: Speaking of space, Trump says he wants to make it great again. The candidate told a crowd in NASA’s home turf of Florida that he would, “free NASA from the restriction of serving primarily as a logistical agency for low Earth-orbit activities. We will instead refocus on space exploration. Under a Trump administration, Florida and America will lead the way into the stars.”
But while Trump has expressed interest in going to infinity and beyond, his NASA plans, predictably, don’t offer much in the way of self-examination. Which is to say that, under him, the agency won’t spend much time looking at life on Earth.
In an op-ed published last month, a pair of advisors stated that, “NASA should be focused primarily on deep-space activities rather than Earth-centric.” The view is due likely in no small part to its ties to climate change, a phenomenon the president-elect does not believe to be tied to man-made activity. But hey, as long as we find a new planet to live on before we completely destroy this one, we should be good, right?
Not a fan of net neutrality: Trump’s major gripe with net neutrality seems to involve his equating the concept with censorship. He’s referred to it a “top down power grab” and compared it unfavorably to the FCC’s fairness doctrine, which attempted to require broadcasters to give equal time to all sides of an issue. His planned appointment of anti-regulatory crusader Jeffrey Eisenach has been viewed as problematic by net neutrality supporters.
Will get very, very tough on cyber: The cybersecurity policy Trump laid out at his first debate with Hillary Clinton was… perplexing. Here’s part of his response when asked about online attacks by moderator Lester Holt, which failed to implicate Russia,
[W]e had to get very, very tough on cyber and cyber warfare. It is a huge problem. I have a son—he’s 10 years old. He has computers. He is so good with these computers. It’s unbelievable. The security aspect of cyber is very, very tough. And maybe, it’s hardly doable. But I will say, we are not doing the job we should be doing.
Trump’s site lays things out a bit more clearly than his own comments (which, admittedly, isn’t a hard thing to do), repeatedly hitting Clinton on her ongoing email woes, citing various issues with hacking over the years and ordering a review of the U.S.’s online vulnerabilities.