Google seeks 'conservative outreach' manager after Trump election win

President-elect Donald Trump. (AP File)
President-elect Donald Trump. (AP File)

San Francisco - For most of Silicon Valley, Donald Trump's US presidential election win was jarring. Google is using its aftermath to burnish its bona fides in Trump's political orbit.

The Alphabet unit posted a job listing for a manager of "conservative outreach" on its policy team 10 days after the election. The company is searching for a Washington veteran to "tell Google’s story in an elevator or from a podium," according to the description on Google's career website.

"As a member of Google's Public Policy outreach team, you will act as Google’s liaison to conservative, libertarian and free market groups," the listing reads. "You are part organiser, part advocate and part policy wonk as you understand the world of third-party non-governmental advocacy organisations."

Google has hired former Republican operatives before and this job isn't new (the previous policy specialist in the role once worked on Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign). But the listing suggests the internet giant is mobilising to push its multi-faceted agenda with the incoming administration. Google is likely to voice positions on several key political issues, including data encryption, antitrust, telecom rules and autonomous vehicles. On several of them, Trump's policies are uncertain.

The company has kept relatively quiet since the election. In an interview with the BBC the week after, CEO Sundar Pichai noted how the results reflected a deep divide in the US.  "We need to figure out how to constructively engage with the new administration and hear the voices of people," Pichai told the British broadcaster. A Google spokesperson declined to comment on Monday.

Prior to the election, Eric Schmidt, Alphabet's chairperson, was more vocal, expressing willingness to help Hillary Clinton's campaign, according to e-mails obtained by WikiLeaks. He was photographed at a Clinton gathering on the evening of the election wearing a "staff" badge.

Although Google eschewed lobbying in its early years, it has turned into one of the largest corporate forces in Washington. Alphabet has spent $11.9m so far this year, ranking it in the top five among U.S. companies, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Its top lobbyist is Susan Molinari, a former Republican Congresswoman from New York. Her father, Guy Molinari, a luminary in the state's party, spoke out against Trump in 2015. In September, he told a New York City newspaper he was reversing his position and endorsing the party's nominee.

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