President-elect Donald Trump met with representatives of major Silicon Valley corporations on Wednesday in an effort to forge better relationships with the tech sector, including major social networks.
But while bigwigs like Tesla’s Elon Musk, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook and Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook received an invite, Twitter representatives were reportedly left out in the cold.
It seems that Trump and his team have some lingering resentment over an “emoji deal” with Twitter that fell through after Twitter got antsy about working with the then-Republican nominee.
Trump’s campaign had inked a deal with Twitter in August for more than $5 million in advertising. In return, Twitter would offer Trump’s team prime advertising space for key events, like the two debates, and help Trump’s team craft custom emojis for their hashtags, like #CrookedHillary.
Twitter’s artists designed a “moneybags” emoji for Team Trump to use during the first debate, and the campaign was all ready to approve and execute the hashtag strategy. And then, according to Trump team members, someone in Twitter’s C-suite called off the deal.
The “emoji deal” failure happened again, when Trump’s team tried to get a custom icon for the second debate. That time, the cancellation phone call came from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey himself, who told the campaign that they were getting out of politics and that they wouldn’t honor any deals with campaigns.
Trump’s campaign was the only campaign with the custom deal. So, according to Trump’s team, Dorsey really meant that Twitter wouldn’t do business with Trump.
Trump’s team took the slight personally—and it’s clear so did Trump himself. Even though Trump has had problems with a number of other tech meeting attendees—he called for a boycott of Apple products after the company wouldn’t unlock a terrorist’s phone for the FBI, and Trump has routinely criticized the Bezos-owned Washington Post—only Twitter wasn’t extended the olive branch.
It probably didn’t help that Twitter is the only tech company, so far, to publicly oppose Trump’s agenda.
A source for POLITICO says that RNC bigwig Sean Spicer, who was involved in the failed emoji deal and took Twitter to task about it publicly, actually made the call to boot Dorsey from Wednesday’s meeting. Nobody at the top, apparently, objected, even though Trump himself uses the social network as his primary means of public communication, and has 17 million followers.
The slight may have interesting consequences: Twitter is currently for sale, and losing the respect of one of its top clients could mean disaster for any impending deal. It’s also entirely possible that Trump is trying to force Twitter to comply with his Presidential plans before allowing the social network into his tech in-crowd.