Delighted with his opening remarks, Trump continued— until the unthinkable came barreling toward him from the right.
“Excuse me,” Jeff Bezos said, clearing his throat. “Excuse me, Mr. President-Elect, but… your children — should they be in this meeting?”
The dreaded awkwardness appeared suddenly and completely. It had been hiding in the corner but now it stood in full view, swiftly sucking the drugstore glitter out of the faux-gilded room.
Trump started to answer, but was cut off again.
“I certainly mean no disrespect,” Bezos continued, addressing the Trump children at the end of the table. “However we are in Trump Tower, being served Trump Water, and on top of that your sons, who you stated just yesterday will be running your business for you, while you focus on the enormous task of running this country, which you’ve said repeatedly is your top priority, are sitting here with us today. Respectfully, no one who has any vested interests in your businesses should be in this room.
“It was my understanding that this meeting was about policy, specifically with regard to the technology sector, so their presence here, the presence of your sons, and perhaps even your daughter and son-in-law as well,” he continued, gesturing to them, “is not only unwarranted, it does a grave disservice to fully serving the American people. And, again, with all respect, I won’t be complicit in this.”
Trump said nothing. He tilted his head toward the wall of journalists, toying with the label on his bottle of Trump Water. He elongated his neck for the flashing cameras, and protruded his bottom lip just for himself.
When an eternity of Trump Sulking passed (about 4 seconds), Peter Thiel attempted a rescue.
“Jeff, Jeff,” he said. “This is a pretty informal meeting so I don’t think it’s necessary to remove Don, Eric and Ivanka at this time. After all, we’re all here to Make America Great Again, right? I mean, look at this great logo…”
Bezos stood up and began gathering his things.
“Please don’t waste my time. When you’re ready to have a substantive, meaningful conversation, I'll be here.”
As he prepared to leave the room, Larry Page stood as well.
“I tend to agree with Jeff,” he said, almost to himself.
Sheryl Sandberg, looking relieved, began to get up too, as did Eric Schmidt, Tim Cook, Elon Musk, and six others. With cameras rolling, half the room was out the door.
Trump, agitated, but determined, continued the meeting defiantly, attempting to save face with the remaining people at the table, almost half of them his children.
“I guess they don’t want to Make America Great Again,” he bellowed after them, throwing his hands in the air, like he just didn’t care. Theil managed a smile.
At least, that’s what I wished had happened.