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Trump jokes to Akamai CEO about cybersecurity: 'The DNC could have used you'

  • The White House hosted technology CEOs like Tim Cook and Jeff Bezos on Monday.
  • The U.S. government uses technology that's more than 50 years old in some cases.
  • Tech CEOs clash with the administration on issues concerning immigration and the environment.

President Donald Trump on Monday joked to technology CEOs that the Democratic National Committee "could have used" more cybersecurity.

The wisecrack, which was met with laughs and groans, came as The White House hosted technology CEOs like Tim Cook and Jeff Bezos on Monday.

Akamai is best known for its content delivery network (CDN) business, which is used by big web sites to deliver content like video more efficiently. But it also offers services that protect against certain types of cyber-attacks that can affect website reliability.

U.S. President Donald Trump (C) greets Apple CEO Tim Cook (L) and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella before a meeting of the American Technology Council in the State Dining Room of the White House
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump (C) greets Apple CEO Tim Cook (L) and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella before a meeting of the American Technology Council in the State Dining Room of the White House

The DNC was hacked during the last presidential campaign when stolen Democratic material was given to WikiLeaks. Trump's opponent, Hillary Clinton, said last month that she believed the technology, including Russian hackings, WikiLeaks, "fake news" and the DNC's weak database were factors in her election loss.

Trump has previously said, though, that Clinton's focus on the hack was out of embarrassment for her loss.

The summit builds on President Donald Trump's aim to bring a business sensibility to politics, stemming from Trump's background as a media mogul.

Presidential advisor Jared Kushner said earlier on Monday that the government needed to "unleash the creativity of the private sector," noting that the U.S. government uses technology that's more than 50 years old in some cases.

But it comes at a time when technology companies have more money and influence than ever in many respects.

Apple's Tim Cook and Alphabet's Eric Schmidt are among CEOs that have positioned themselves squarely against the administration on issues concerning immigration and the environment. But there are also major "gov-tech" contracts that could be up for grabs, former interim Yahoo CEO Ross Levinsohn told CNBC's "Closing Bell" on Monday.

— With reporting by CNBC's Kayla Tausche