Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella endorses Trump supporter for governor of North Dakota
Such was the attention given to [disclosure: Pando investor] Peter Thiel’s support of Donald Trump that you might be forgiven for thinking he was the only tech leader to directly, or indirectly, support the antichrist.
A reader writes to point out another tech leader giving Trump the nod: Atlassian chairman Doug Burgum.
Thiel’s motives for supporting American fascism remain somewhat opaque, but not so Burgum’s. The Atlassian boss is running for the North Dakota Republican nomination for governor. Asked back in early May, before Trump had secured the votes required to formally secure the nomination, who he supported as the party’s presidential candidate, Burgum proudly and loudly named Trump.
Donald’s success is a result of voter’s [sic] frustration with career politicians and the status quo. Voters are looking for a political outsider because the status quo isn’t working for many Americans. We need business leaders in office that understand the changing economy.
By contrast, his opponent, Attorney General Wayne Stenejem, declined to name Trump, saying simply that he planned to support whoever the party eventually nominated.
Burgum’s support of Trump might be unremarkable -- Republican backs Republican presumptive nominee -- if it weren’t for the details of his connection to the tech industry. Burgum isn’t the chair of any old tech company, but one founded and operated by foreigners -- Australians Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar. Given Trump’s anti-immigration policies, Burgum’s endorsement looks, at the very least, disingenuous .
And, if Burgum is disingenuous, some of his own supporters in the tech industry are just plain grossly hypocritical. On Saturday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced his support for Burgum’s candidacy. Nadella was born in Hyderabad, India and worked for Burgum at Microsoft after the company acquired Burgum’s company, Great Plains, for $1.1bn in 2001.
In an interview, Nadella tried to distance his support for Burgum from Burgum’s embrace of Trump.
"I definitely do not support, or I've not looked at, all his positions... When I worked for him, I would have probably not agreed with him on a lot of things that he stood for. But what I really endorse here is the character of Doug Burgum, who he is as a human being and what he is capable of doing for other humans and other organizations."
Got it. It’s not about policies, but about character. The character of a man who enthusiastically embraces a Presidential candidate who would prefer an America without people like Satya Nadella and who hates the idea of companies like Atlassian stealing business from good honest American tech startups.