Eric Schmidt, chief executive of Google parent company Alphabet, was appointed chairman of a Department of Defense program in 2016 that was established by former President Barack Obama’s administration.
A staunch supporter of the Democratic Party and critic of President Donald Trump, Schmidt still continues to lead the Defense Innovation Board (DIB), even well after the new administration took over in January. This begs the question: should Schmidt’s history of partisan advocacy and condemnation of Trump be a worrisome prospect for the current White House?
Regardless of the answer, Trump’s retention of Schmidt may be emblematic of more than political divisiveness within the current administration, like from “Obama holdovers.” In fact, it may be the opposite of unwanted internal discord and a sign of an underlying ethos for the Trump administration — diversity of thought.
“When you look at the composition of the initial Economic Advisory Board, it kind of reminds me of what Trump is doing here,” Justin Danhof, general counsel of the National Center for Public Policy Research and director of the Free Enterprise Project, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “He’s putting together a team of rivals. If you want to get to the best ideas, you can’t have everyone in the room thinking the same thing.”
Alphabet announced on Thursday that Schmidt will be stepping down in January, marking the seeming end to a 17-year-career at Google and its parent company. It’s quite likely that he will maintain economic and personal interests in the business, especially since he’s expected to stay on as a member of Alphabet’s board of directors and serve as an adviser.
The DIB was formally created in March 2016, and former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter later announced that Schmidt would be heading the organization. Other specifically chosen board members include famous astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman, Wharton…