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Qualcomm Co-Founder, Tech Leaders Say Trump Would Be 'Disaster For Innovation'

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in San Diego, May 27, 2016.
Associated Press
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in San Diego, May 27, 2016.

Around 150 technology pioneers and executives, including two from San Diego-based Qualcomm, wrote in an open letter Thursday that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would be a "disaster for innovation."

Among tech leaders to denounce Trump's candidacy were Irwin Jacobs, the Qualcomm co-founder, and his son, Paul, the company's executive chairman. Irwin Jacobs held a fundraiser last year for Trump's likely opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, and was a top financial backer of Democratic President Barack Obama's campaigns.

"We have listened to Donald Trump over the past year and we have concluded — Trump would be a disaster for innovation," the letter posted on said. "His vision stands against the open exchange of ideas, free movement of people, and productive engagement with the outside world that is critical to our economy — and that provide the foundation for innovation and growth."

Among the other signatories were internet pioneer Vint Cerf, Expedia and InterActive Corp. Chairman Barry Diller, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Tumblr founder David Karp, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

"We believe in an inclusive country that fosters opportunity, creativity and a level playing field," the letter said. "Donald Trump does not. He campaigns on anger, bigotry, fear of new ideas and new people, and a fundamental belief that America is weak and in decline."

The letter said Trump "traffics in ethnic and racial stereotypes, repeatedly insults women, and is openly hostile to immigration," and points out that 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were started by immigrants or their children. His technology "few" policies are "erratic and contradictory," they said.

Their letter includes a disclaimer that their views don't necessarily reflect those of their companies.

Trump attended a fundraiser in Rancho Santa Fe on Wednesday.

Disclosure: Irwin Jacobs is a major funder of KPBS.