Last week, Tim Cook along with a number of other tech CEOs descended upon Washington D.C. for a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump. While many were anticipating fireworks and heated arguments on account of Trump’s positions on items like H-1B visas and foreign-based manufacturing, the meeting reportedly went surprisingly smooth.
In remarks relayed by The New York Times, Trump left his bombast at home and heaped praise on a roomful of attendees that included Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Alphabet’s Larry Page, Tesla’s Elon Musk and others.
There’s nobody like you in the world,” he enthused. “In the world! There’s nobody like the people in this room.” Anything that the government “can do to help this go along,” he made clear, “we’re going to be there for you.”
Now seeing as how Trump is undeniably the most controversial figure to assume the Presidency in decades, some of the aforementioned tech CEOs were criticized for even opting to lend Trump an ear in the first place.
Addressing this issue on an internal Apple message board, Tim Cook this week explained (in a statement obtained by TechCrunch) his motivation for sitting down with Trump.
Cook articulated that its advantageous to be part of the political process and to “engage” with Government bodies as opposed to remaining an unwitting observer. And seeing as how many of the issues that Apple is most passionate about can be fundamentally impacted by Government directives — with mobile privacy being a prime example — Cook stressed the importance of working with the powers that be in order to reach mutually beneficial understandings and outcomes.
Cook’s remarks read in part:
There’s a large number of those issues, and the way that you advance them is to engage. Personally, I’ve never found being on the sideline a successful place to be. The way that you influence these issues is to be in the arena. So whether it’s in this country, or the European Union, or in China or South America, we engage. And we engage when we agree and we engage when we disagree. I think it’s very important to do that because you don’t change things by just yelling. You change things by showing everyone why your way is the best. In many ways, it’s a debate of ideas.
Incidentally, Trump has been particularly vocal and open about how he wants Apple to manufacture its products in the U.S. as opposed to China. While such a scenario is arguably unlikely, it’s worth noting that Foxconn, Apple’s key manufacturing partner, recently began exploring the feasibility of establishing a plant in the United States.
Cook’s full remarks on his meeting with Trump can be viewed via the source link below.