Google Executives Held Staff Meeting to Process Trump’s Election

CFO encouraged hugging to comfort the audience

September 13, 2018

A leaked video released by Breitbart News Wednesday night shows Google Inc.’s top executives holding court with worried employees in the wake of President Donald Trump’s November 2016 election.

The hour-long video, marked "CONFIDENTIAL - INTERNAL ONLY," includes remarks from Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, CEO Sundar Pichai, CFO Ruth Porat, and vice presidents Kent Walker and Eileen Naughton.

Porat, who spoke of her support for Clinton, recounted a message from a friend at the Javits Center in New York, where the Clinton campaign watched election night returns. "People are leaving, staff is crying, we’re gonna lose," the text read.

Questions and comments alike were met with rounds of applause and assurances all would be well with the company.

During her speech, Porat encouraged the audience to give hugs a way to comfort one another.

Naughton, vice president of people operations, said: "I kind of always imagined my first time up here [to be about] Googlegeist or something, but here we are." The crowd responded with laughs.

She asked jokingly, "Can I move to Canada?" noting that mobility was an option for worried employees, and "we move people at Google all the time ... we moved 8,900 in the last twelve months."

The Google executives, at this point sitting together as a panel, adumbrated their intended response to Trump’s election, telling worried employees they would be sticking to their values, including a continued push for what they called "comprehensive immigration reform."

Naughton assured staff that same sex couples would continue to receive benefits, noting Google has "led in this area. We will not in any way change our benefits."

A separate leaked email from Google’s multicultural marketing chief Eliana Murillo, sent shortly after Trump’s win, revealed Google had "pushed tp[sic] get out the Latino vote with our features, our partners, and our voices." The email referred to Google’s voter mobilization effort as a "silent donation."

Google’s widespread support for the Clinton campaign also involved direct cooperation, according to emails between Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook and Clinton aide Cheryl Miller. The emails, published by Wikileaks, mention a group run by Eric Schmidt, then the executive chairman of Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company.

Google executives reassured employees that all views were welcome at the company. Porat, the company CFO, spoke of values at the company that "transcend politics."

"For what it's worth, I've been a very longtime Hillary supporter," Porat said, "but as Ken said, the most important thing is, I very much respect the outcome of the democratic process, and who any one of us voted for is really not the point, because the values that are held dear at this company transcend politics."

Several months after the November meeting, Google fired engineer James Damore for writing publicly about gender differences and the company’s explicitly diversity-oriented hiring practices. The National Labor Relations Board found Google was within its right to fire Damore.

The video’s release adds fuel to existing Republican ire towards the company. Following Google’s decision not to send a top executive to testify to the Senate Intelligence Committee alongside Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg earlier this month, committee staff left a seat empty behind a placard labeled "GOOGLE."

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) warned Google in a tweet Tuesday that an "invite will be on its way" to answer questions about its efforts to "stop Trump."

The Obama administration had a warm relationship with Google, hiring several hundred employees from the tech company. As of publication, there was no evidence Google held a similar all-hands meeting following Barack Obama’s election or re-election.

Published under: Google , President Trump