In an interview with Axios, President-Elect Trump apparently said that Apple CEO Tim Cook is open to building the iPhone in the US. This would represent a major coup for Trump, whose big policy statements thus far have mostly been about keeping jobs in America.
Specifically, Trump said that “Cook has his “eyes open to [US manufacturing]” and that Cook “really believe he loves this country and I think he’d like to do something major here.” I’m sure that Tim Cook and Trump did have a conversation about making the iPhone in the US at some point, and I’m sure that Cook, terrified of a tweet about Apple’s sad, low-energy foreign manufacturing, said some things.
Without access to the transcripts, we’ll never know exactly what was said. But in the interest of killing time until the iPhone 8 launch, we can at least dream about how that conversation went.
Trump: Hey Tim! So, I’ve been thinking.
Trump: The iPhone 7 was low energy. No headphone jack, same body style. Sad!
Cook: Well, uh, I wouldn’t say that, we’ve had some great response from our customers–
Trump: Anyway, I don’t know a lot about iPhones. But I know some good people, some tremendous people, my own son, you know. Just 12 years old, what these kids know about technology is incredible. Just incredible. And you know what they say? They say the best technology is still made in the United States. Look at what happened to Samsung. Outsourced manufacturing, no quality control. They have great engineers, some of the best — not as good as here, of course, but you’ve got to respect them — but they were sunk by outsourcing. Same as the iPhone.
Cook: Well, now, look, it’s more about the supply chain, and how we can get components built to schedule. We’ve centered our supply chain around China for years, and it’s not that easy to just move a factory —
Trump: Look, we have some very talented people here. Think of the Manhattan Project. They didn’t outsource any of that. Just assembled a crack team of engineers and — boom — next thing, we’ve won the war. Twitter, Facebook — did you know I’ve got nearly a billion followers between all of that, and I don’t even try! — all built in the USA. Apple needs to build some factories in the USA, Tim, or you’re going to be sorry. Very sorry.
Cook: Well, of course, if we could bring some of that cash back from overseas —
Trump: Of course, of course, I’ve always said that we’re going to do that on day one, high priority for me and my team. You don’t need to be worried about that.
Cook: — then we can talk about maybe reinvesting some of that in the US. We have very high interest in our US divisions, and of course, with all the new product categories we’re working on, we will definitely have our eyes on US manufacturing. Not for the iPhone, but of course, when the right project comes along, we’ll certainly have the US on our list of options.