- Executive now says he won’t endorse any presidential candidate
- Trump campaign says event canceled due to scheduling conflict
Intel Corp. Chief Executive Officer Brian Krzanich has stumbled into the contentious debate over the presidential campaign by planning -- then canceling -- a fundraiser for presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.
Krzanich called off the event, which was to be held at his home in California, after the semiconductor maker received an inquiry about it from the New York Times, according to people familiar with the situation. The newspaper reported on the fundraiser’s cancellation on Wednesday.
“I do not intend to endorse any presidential candidate,” Intel’s leader wrote in a tweet late Wednesday. “We are interested in engaging both campaigns in open dialogue on issues in technology.”
An Intel spokeswoman said the company isn’t commenting on reports about the planned event. She repeated Krzanich’s post on Twitter as a company statement on the matter. Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for the Trump campaign, said the event isn’t taking place because of a scheduling conflict.
BK, as he’s known at the company, has pledged Intel money and tied executive pay to efforts to make his workforce more representative of the general population by increasing the hiring of women and minorities. Intel has also campaigned vigorously for immigration reform that would give easier access to U.S. visas for the math, science and engineering graduates it wants to recruit from overseas.
Krzanich’s flirtation with support for Trump, who has criticized immigrants and said the country should take a tougher line with countries including China -- the biggest market for the semiconductor industry that Intel leads -- is at odds with some other high-profile Silicon Valley Republicans who have said they won’t support Trump.
Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. and a former Republican candidate for governor of California, has said Trump is unfit to be president and strongly assailed his economic policies and comments about women. John Chambers, Chairman of Cisco Systems Inc., said he wanted Ohio Governor John Kasich to be the Republican nominee. Kasich dropped out of the race last month.