What Is President Trump’s Endgame? We Asked A Tech Entrepreneur To Go There
In this six-part series, Moguldom tries to get inside the head of Miami tech entrepreneur Brian Brackeen, CEO of facial recognition firm Kairos. We want to know how Brian thinks, and what it takes to grow as a black tech startup founder. This is Part 4 of the series.
A lot of business owners are reluctant to talk openly about politics.
They say, “Hey, don’t mix my business with politics.”
“You’re going to mess up my funding.”
“You’re going to mess up my relationships.”
Particularly on black issues, where there’s so much risk, I’ve heard entrepreneurs saying, “Hey, I can’t weigh in on this because it’s going to harm my standing and my ability to raise capital.”
Brian Brackeen goes there in this Moguldom interview.
Moguldom: What is the endgame for Donald Trump?
Brian Brackeen: It changes every day. My answer before Charlottesville would have been different than my answer today. (That’s) how challenging politics can be for a founder, especially for me. I’m kind of like a militant-in-the-middle person. I’m a big Malcolm Jenkins fan (Jenkins plays safety for the Philadelphia Eagles). During the Pledge of Allegiance, he puts his arm out like a Black Power fist. One of his white teammates puts his arm around him at the same time. I always thought that’s just an amazing and positive thing.
I haven’t traditionally cared for the Kaepernick version (Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled for the National Anthem in 2016 in protest against police brutality. Some think he was fired for it. He is credited with starting a movement). I don’t believe Colin Kaepernick has been blacklisted. His play is so poor. People chose Rosa Parks (civil rights activist who was arrested for refusing to give up their seat to white passengers) for a reason. She was so perfect a vessel for the movement. They chose her because she could be digested by the larger groups.
On the right, I see people who are not being intellectually honest about the argument. To pretend like there are good people in this group of Nazis, (Trump) alienates not just an entire segment of the population. He alienates his fellow Republicans — the ones that are more principled.
The demise of Donald Trump won’t come from the Democratic party because we all know where they stand, we know how they’re going to vote, and the numbers aren’t there for impeachment. His demise will come from certain elements of the Republican Party that will join with Democrats. Look at a Nevada Republican, or a Mormon Republican — a lot more religious, Mitt Romney-Style Republican will come out very strongly against Donald Trump. Look at an Arizona Republican, John McCain, Jeff Flake, — very different kinds of Republican. It’s those folks working with Democrats that will end up being Trump’s ultimate (demise).
Moguldom: If Heather Heyer, the person who was run over by the Nazi in Charlottesville had been black, would the Republican response have been the same?
Brian Brackeen: This where I’m militantly center. I don’t think it would be. If you look historically at the statements about Naziism, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who is a violently conservative guy — and I find his voting record to be almost party over country — said publicly that his brother didn’t die in WWII so he could support Naziism in America. The things we’re seeing now are so beyond party. There is a core group of Republicans part in the senate that I think would be consistent across the run, because of the Nazi impact.
Moguldom: Reconcile that with the lack of empathy and support for the folks that have been crying and dying when police departments murder black people. People are being shot by Nazis and racists. This is not the first time — there’s been a pattern of black people being shot and killed by racists. You don’t really hear much sympathy for that cause. Some people are in an uproar with the tiki torches and militia starter kits out there.
Brian Brackeen: I recently went to Philadelphia and the National Constitution Center. There’s this amazing section that lays out the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and how different groups from Barack Obama to John F. Kennedy to Martin Luther King, Jr and others have used the tenets of America to hold us to those founding principles.
Inherent in your question is a lack of fairness, a lack of consistency in how different groups are treated for the same exact behaviors. Look at crack cocaine vs cocaine. Look at the current epidemic and how humane people are about opioids and inhumane about drugs other groups have done. Independent of those clear and decisive facts, the foundation of the country is nearly perfect. Nearly perfect. And the only reason we assume things should be fair is because we want to be held to the idea that the country is founded on. And now it’s up to us to change the hearts and minds of those that are participating in the franchise.
Part 1 in the Brian Brackeen series: Morgan Stanley-Backed Tech Entrepreneur Could Be Mentoring The Next Elon Musk
Part 2 in the Brian Brackeen series: Can Cryptocurrency Be Considered A Real Asset Class Or Currency?
Part 3 in the Brian Brackeen series: Do You Feel Rejected By Silicon Valley Establishment? The Huge Role Geography Plays In That
Sign up for the Moguldom newsletter — the most compelling business news you need to know about reversing inequality in tech, delivered straight to your inbox.