President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday covered a wide range of issues, from the economy to criminal justice and immigration to drug prices.
But he rarely referenced the tech industry despite a series of high-profile scandals, breaches, and controversies that have thrust Big Tech into the national political discourse over the past year.
There was speculation that Trump might bring up his often-cited grievances with the tech industry or even include a mention of broadband access when discussing his infrastructure agenda. Nothing as detailed as that came up but Trump did call for infrastructure legislation that includes “investments in the cutting edge industries of the future.”
As Axios’ David McCabe notes, that nod “reflects a White House interest in areas like artificial intelligence, quantum computing and 5G wireless.”
The closest Trump came to a tech industry issue was the U.S. trade war with China.
“We are now making it clear to China that after years of targeting our industries and stealing our intellectual property, the theft of American jobs and wealth has come to an end,” Trump said. He added, “we recently imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods and now our Treasury is receiving billions and billions of dollars.”
The tech industry has been closely tracking the escalating tariffs imposed by the U.S. and China on one another. The tariffs target many of the products tech and telecom companies rely on, like semiconductors and modems.
Trump also touched on the Republican tax overhaul passed in 2017, which was financially backed by many in the tech industry including Microsoft and Comcast.
“Companies are coming back to our country in large numbers thanks to our historic reductions in taxes and regulations,” he said.
But Trump’s speech did not cover data privacy, net neutrality, or other major tech industry issues that have made headlines over the past year, instead focusing on national security and a plea for bipartisan governance. Technology and innovation were also mostly absent from his State of the Union last year.
Trump did briefly talk about space, calling out astronaut Buzz Aldrin in the crowd as 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. “This year, American astronauts will go back to space on American rockets,” Trump said.