After opposing Trump, Sprint and T-Mobile CEOs aim to mend fences


After all, if the two companies want to merge, Trump’s FCC will hold the key.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere has had epic Twitter fights with Donald Trump and Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure was a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton.

But in emails to staff this week both executives sounded a conciliatory note toward the man who holds the key to both companies’ future.

After all, it is Trump will appoint the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and it is the FCC who gets to decide a range of issues vital to both companies, most notably whether the two companies get to merge to form a more substantive competitor to larger rivals AT&T and Verizon.

The two companies and their corporate parents had discussions in recent years, but held off after Obama’s FCC indicated it was opposed to any deal that reduced the number of wireless carriers from four to three.

It has been long expected that the companies would look to revisit the idea in the next administration.

So despite their past opposition to Trump, Claure and Legere this week seemed eager to put the past in the past.

“I never shied away from my support for Hillary,” Claure said in an email late Thursday night. But, he added, “Now that the election has ended, it’s time to bring that divisiveness to an end, and it’s time to unite as Americans. I have made a commitment to myself to respect democracy and give a fair chance to Donald Trump to be a good President.”

Legere, meanwhile, wrote to employees on Wednesday that “as Americans, we must honor the democratic process and give our president-elect an opportunity to govern and unite this country.”

On Twitter, Legere even tried to paint Trump as his kind of leader, saying: “Let’s see what an out of the box, non-typical, non-politician can do for America!”

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That’s despite an epic 2015 Twitter battle in which Legere complained about one of Trump’s hotels and Trump lashed back, criticizing T-Mobile’s cell service. Legere ended up checking out of the Trump hotel.

When a follower said he had lost respect for both Legere and T-Mobile after this week’s tweet, the CEO responded, “The election is over. We are all Americans and we need to unite and move forward together.”

Of course, Claure and Legere are not alone in needing to figure out what to do with an unexpected President Trump. Aside from Peter Thiel and a handful of others, most of the tech industry opposed the man who will now serve as regulator-in-chief (among other roles).

Amazon and Apple, in particular, face challenges with the new administration, with Trump having singled out Apple for its encryption stance as well as its overseas manufacturing, and suggesting Amazon could face antitrust issues. And their leaders have also sounded conciliatory in their post-election comments.

Here’s Legere’s full e-mail:

Team –

What a historic election we just witnessed. What an overwhelming message we saw delivered across this country last night. It is truly amazing how democracy can surprise, disappoint or inspire us in the blink of an eye.

However, one thing is clear, this country is very divided and many are unsure how to think about the new president-elect. No matter how you voted, one thing is true – as Americans, we must honor the democratic process and give our president-elect an opportunity to govern and unite this country.

During times of change we can either stand up, unite and support one another – or tear down and attack one another. I am asking you to unite. To support each other, to focus on the future and lead by example. Change is difficult. This election stunned the world. But we are all citizens of one of the greatest countries in the world and the people here at T-Mobile are some of the best in America. If anyone can lead by example and support each other through this transition, it is all of you.

We have a diverse, intelligent, creative and ambitious work force across this country. That will not change.

Today I am asking you to help T-Mobile, to help the country and help each other unite and move forward.

Here’s the relevant part of Claure’s e-mail (part of a weekly message that also touched on a number of issues, including Veterans Day and the company’s just-launched HTC Bolt smartphone):

Dear Partners,

As most of you know, I wasn’t born in the United States, but I am a very proud immigrant, and also incredibly proud to be American. Through the years I have learned to admire what our country stands for: its values, its people and more clearly its democracy.

I have received numerous emails and text messages from my Sprint partners after the election asking, “Now what?”

I had tended to stay away from politics and had never endorsed any candidates until this recent election. Based on what I heard from both candidates, I decided that as a husband, a father and as a businessman I would personally support Hillary. Mainly because as an immigrant, I had a hard time supporting a candidate who made some really tough comments about Hispanics and women, and created a lot of divisiveness among Americans. I never shied away from my support for Hillary.

Now that the election has ended, it’s time to bring that divisiveness to an end, and it’s time to unite as Americans. I have made a commitment to myself to respect democracy and give a fair chance to Donald Trump to be a good President. I pray that he unites our country and continues to make it an even better place for all Americans regardless of their race, their national origin or their religion. I hope he utilizes the same resiliency that he has shown to become President of the United States to reunite this country. I also hope that he is a change agent in Washington and fixes a few things that need some serious fixing. This marks the first time in the modern era that a businessman will take control and lead our country. I hope that this will only benefit all of us at Sprint. No matter who you supported, as Americans it’s our obligation to accept the will of our fellow Americans and respect the new leader.

In the spirit of one of our main brand attributes, it’s time for all of us to MOVE FORWARD.

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