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Staunch Trump critic Box CEO Levie tempers tone: 'We must work constructively with DC'

Despite calling president-elect Donald Trump the "scariest person in America" earlier this year, Box CEO Aaron Levie said technology companies must begin "bridging the divide" between Silicon Valley and Washington.

"Now, moving forward, we know that we must work constructively with D.C. and with the new administration on making sure that we have an economy and we have a tech sector and an innovation push that works for everybody," Levie told CNBC's "Squawk Alley" on Thursday.

Levie, who supported defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in the U.S. presidential race, was vocal on social media against then-candidate Trump, saying his debate performance "seems like someone who's drunk" and calling Trump "obviously unelectable."




"A lot of the rhetoric during the campaign was very divisive on the part of the president-elect," Levie told CNBC. "That was extremely uncomfortable for many of us in Silicon Valley, where our organizations are built on inclusiveness and diversity."

Levie is just the latest tech CEO to strike a more conciliatory tone toward Trump after the election. Republican Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Clinton supporter, told CNBC late last month that it's time to come together and give Trump "the benefit of the doubt."

Like fellow tech CEO Matt Maloney of Grubhub, Levie said the Trump campaign presented a challenge to Box's workplace culture.

"There are a number of issues — especially in this campaign, which was unique in many ways — that affect our ability to build a strong culture and a strong community within our organization," Levie said. "First and foremost, we can't build a successful company if we don't have amazing employees that get motivated every day to work together and build awesome technologies and are able to innovate."

Levie's remarks come as Box lost less money than expected in the third quarter, posting an adjusted loss of 14 cents per share, excluding items, versus the 19 cents per share loss expected by a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate. The company, which makes cloud-based file sharing and storage software, posted sales of $103 million during the quarter, better than the $101 million expected by Wall Street.

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Earlier this year, Levie wrote a Medium blog post mapping out the technological changes he anticipates during the next presidential term, including precision medicine, autonomous transportation, robotics, automated manufacturing, 3-D printed organs, artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

"Many of the messages and much of the rhetoric of the campaign season don't reflect the kind of organization that we're building, and so we're going to have to move forward and be able to work again productively with the new administration," Levie said. "But we are going to stand up for our values and ensure all of our employees are protected no matter what happens over the next four years."