Apple CEO Tim Cook’s Trump administration charm offensive seems to be paying off

Apple CEO Tim Cook laughs with U.S. President Donald Trump as the news media leave the room after the two men spoke while participating in an American Workforce Policy Advisory Board meeting in the White House State Dining Room in Washington, U.S., March 6, 2019. (photo: Reuters/Leah Millis)
Apple CEO Tim Cook laughs with U.S. President Donald Trump as the news media leave the room after the two men spoke while participating in an American Workforce Policy Advisory Board meeting in the White House State Dining Room in Washington, U.S., March 6, 2019. (photo: Reuters/Leah Millis)

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has met with President Trump on at least five occasions since his election. So far, those meetings appear to be paying dividends.

Kif Leswing for CNBC:

The federal government will determine in the next few months whether Apple will get a tariff exemption on its core products… The decision will be made by the trade representative, but [Apple CEO Tim] Cook has already appealed directly to the president with his thinking that the tariffs could hurt the company and give its top competitor an advantage.

“I have a lot of respect for Tim Cook, and Tim was talking to me about tariffs,” Trump said in August…

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump
Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump
Trump seems to listen to Cook and take his concerns seriously… One possible reason: Cook has taken care to cultivate ties with Trump and his family — a charm offensive that started shortly after Trump’s election and continues to this day.

Cook has met with Trump over dinner at his golf course in New Jersey twice in the last two years. He’s attended state dinners hosted by Trump and has a good relationship with Ivanka and Melania Trump, White House officials say. Apple announcements have often found their way into Trump’s remarks or tweets when they fit into the president’s narrative. Trump goes out of his way to call Cook a “friend of mine.” …Trump definitely hears Cook’s requests. “Others go out and hire very expensive consultants,” Trump said in August. “Tim Cook calls Donald Trump directly.”

MacDailyNews Take: So far, so good, at least as far as AAPL is concerned*!

*albeit being typically undervalued, which is largely a separate issue from U.S.-China trade tensions; it’s more of a failure of analysts and investors to understand the company, treating it as a hardware maker, rather than as an ecosystem provider with incredibly strong margins and exceptional customer satisfaction and resultant loyalty).

40 Comments

    1. Trump and Cook cannot be further apart on social issues.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/national/apple-ceo-criticizes-trumps-response-to-charlottesville/2017/08/17/0d59a426-8344-11e7-9e7a-20fa8d7a0db6_video.html

      Cook and Trump set aside social issues, however, to concentrate on money. Trump desperately needs economic good news, and Apple is one of the highest visibility companies that could provide it. Apple receives special treatment in return. If Tim Apple had a spine and told Trump to take his tariffs and stick them where the sun don’t shine, Trump would throw Apple under the bus as he always does. Instead Tim Apple goes cowering to Trump to ask for special exemptions. Apple gets them, small businesses do not. Crony capitalism.

      The bad news for Trump is that Apple’s Chinese-built iPhone business isn’t going to buoy the US economy anywhere near to what candidate Trump promised. That industry is mature and there’s nothing revolutionary in Apple’s constipated pipeline. Other US companies are waiting out this disastrous administration, hording cash for the next recession. Some project that economic growth, already hovering at the prior administration average, will slip over the next year. Trumps increased flailing on twitter doesn’t help either.

      “… the National Association for Business Economics said they forecast gross domestic product will drop to 2.3% in 2019 from 2.9% a year earlier. They predicted growth would fall to 1.8% by next year…”

      https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/trump-trade-tariffs-could-pull-growth-below-2-by-2020-2019-10-1028580650

      Tim Apple isn’t going to bail out Trump’s next failure. Tim will be happy to see Trump implode all on his own. The latest deflection tactic in Syria shows what a stupid man Trump is. “A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime,” and would “increase the risk” of reorganization by ISIS and other terrorist groups, Moscow Mitch said. Ouch. Trump is being abandoned by his apologists.

      1. “ Trump desperately needs economic good news“

        I stopped reading right there you have no credibility. You are so DELUSIONAL you believe your own lies.

        President Trump’s economy set SEVERAL all time records and the economy has been humming along going on three years now. You are too BLIND to see just like the rest of your ilk and I could not care less…

        1. Yep, and growing the economy at 0.0000000002% next year would also set an ALL TIME RECORD. Note how selective use of all-caps shouting makes my point more factual than your baseless accusations of delusion.

          Will the Dec 15th tariff hike be called off or will Trump arbitrarily destroy the consumer goods trade for next year? Trump may not stick around to see his beautiful best ever economy come to fruition. You see, the authors of the Constitution specifically granted the power of oversight of the executive branch to the legislature. James Madison argued for impeachment lest a president “might betray his trust to foreign powers”. On the subject of high crimes and misdemeanors, Alexander Hamilton stated that “the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils” was one specifically included offense. No amount of diversion tactics, mislabels, and tantrums will protect the flailing president from these realities.

          Perhaps Trump thinks that his latest foreign dictator friend Erdogan will be a friendly trading partner when the tariffs sink the economy? Never before has the USA so un-strategically turned tail and ran, granting war criminal Assad abetted by ally Russia to gain still more power over the middle east, fertile ground for the next terrorist training group. The sudden US policy change is all so well coordinated and obvious. Goeb will explain it to us after Breitbart spins the narrative to him. I have a more obvious explanation: why would you expect Trump to use US military forces effectively to protect the US and its allies when Trump famously claims he doesn’t need to listen to generals, hates the most loyal allies the US has in NATO and the UN, and clearly has nothing but praise for Putin and other warlords? You don’t need to concoct crazy conspiracy theories to see where Trump’s allegiances lie. Those self-enriching allegiances are not making the US stronger or safer.

    1. “Strange to see them getting along so well”

      NO! What would be “strange” is Pelosi and Schumer getting along with President Trump. The fact that a gay SJW CEO of the wealthiest company in history has the ear and private Bat 🦇 Phone number of the President of the United States is REMARKABLE. Something we can NEVER have enough of. Do you understand? Get your head out of your partisan arse.

      “when obviously Trump is a racist”

      How so? Prove your case instead of the oh so easy partisan potshots. On Friday President Trump touted the lowest unemployment figures in HISTORY for Blacks, Hispanics, Asians and Women. Also, 3.5% unemployment figure the lowest in over 50 years. Learn to read:

      https://theundefeated.com/features/trump-signs-executive-order-on-hbcus/

      https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/white-house-names-ex-nfl-player-head-hbcu-initiative-n802191

      “xenophobe”

      Wrong! You CONFUSE legal immigration with xenophobia.

      “anti-LGBTQ,”

      HA! Full belly laugh! Cook has President Trump’s Bat 🦇 Phone number. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

      “Demonic anti-christ sent here by aliens to destroy the earth.”

      Sorry to read the partisan tin foil hat is on way too tight… 🤣

      1. Brilliant analysis, G. Trump is the best president since Reagan and the disgusting left have proven to be a bunch of slime. Hillary still needs to be locked up, as does Nancy Smellosi and Chuck U Schumer.

        1. Lock them all up. Agreed. Of course, you had DECADES to imprison the slimy Clintons and Star couldn’t find anything more than a stained dress and a consensual affair.

          Meanwhile, just like Reagan left massive debt piles and Iran-Contra corruption, Trump is on track to do the same. You make no peep about the millions in shady money that career politician McConnell and his immigrant wife have accrued.

          Direct results of disastrous policies that did not aid the people he promised to work for:
          https://www.marketwatch.com/story/slumping-us-manufacturers-experience-worse-month-since-end-of-great-recession-ism-finds-2019-10-01

          https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-faltering-economy-is-at-the-mercy-of-an-unpredictable-and-cornered-president-2019-10-03?mod=economy-politics

          https://www.marketwatch.com/story/Service%20side%20of%20economy%20grows%20at%20slowest%20pace%20in%203%20years,%20ISM%20finds,%20adding%20to%20recession%20worries

          What exactly do useless Schumer and Pelosi have to do with Trump’s lies and deflections? Orange baboon is flailing badly due to his own incompetence. The incompetence of the left has nothing to do with Trump’s failings as a president. If you are going to whine about corruption, then don’t blind yourself to the corruption on your team. If you are going to claim your current party icon is a great leader, then show objective results — all I so right now is a nation ripping itself in two, its economy coasting. The last time the economy was firing on all cylinders and the budget was under control was when Slick Willy was in the White House. Tantrum Trump has a former model as a trophy wife and all he can accomplish is tweet flurries between Faux&Friends episodes and taking lessons from unhinged Hannity.

          1. So Trump will uphold his promise to reign in his reckless deficit spending only if he gets another term? What prevented him from any sense of fiscal responsibility until now?

            The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, combined with increases in spending, ballooned the budget deficit quickly to over $1 trillion. But the economy didn’t suddenly jump to record new levels. Slashing corporate taxes didn’t result in a factory building boom in the USA, companies like Apple kept producing almost everything in China and bought back their own stock to buoy stock prices for maximum executive bonus payouts.

            Sadly, loopholes in the tax code were not closed. The richest few hundred family dynasties in the USA have seen their real tax shrink while the middle class continues to shoulder the costs of maintaining the nation. Warren Buffet claimed that the tax cut personally saved him $29 billion overnight. He claims he will give away his wealth, but in the meantime Berkshire Hathaway workers haven’t seen a massive wage hike or profit sharing check.

            How much longer can a republic exist after the middle class disappears? Thanks to Trump, the acceleration of that trend is happening.

            Goeb loves a good fighter. Problem is, fighting and online twitter tantrums is not leadership. Modern Rome is not great again. It is distracted and divided, clearly not working together for the betterment of all citizens.

      2. GoeB
        Nothing remarkable about this?
        I envy you your blissful rose tinted denial of reality. Tim Cook simply pwns Trump..TC has played a blinder, with no fuss, just intelligence and a deep understanding of human nature and the like of Trump…who capitulated in the face of non-aggressive logic.
        This of course puts you in a great position to win the IronyDesert Award for the Indefensible Two Faced Hypocrisy and Logic Fail… given your sustained efforts to demonize Tim Cook’s stature, ability to lead Apple, his political activities, social policies, Twitter statements, his weekend activities, environmental activism and campaigned for his sacking…you name it, you’ve criticized him for it and gone way beyond being disrespectful by enthusiastically endorsing many of Botvinnik’s many homophobic outrages. For you now to be lauding Tim Cook and Trump in the same sentence? Well you see the problem or you would had you a shred of self awareness.
        And I’m really struggling with this policy of selective favors for arch globalist corporations, there’s a word for it but it just won’t come to mind, perhaps you can help…

  1. The sizeable advantage that the Hellenic Cook has with Trump over his tech competitors is that he seems to pose neither a threat to Trump’s cocky machoness nor a threat to his famale harem consisting of nepotistic relatives.

  2. Trump responds very badly to criticism. He will often turn on the person and escalate the fight exponentially. Silicon Valley made the mistake of criticizing him early in the presidency and before a focus for Trump’s ire.
    Cook realized that this approach was not getting anywhere so instead created a dialog. The result is that Trump does not view his or Apple as an enemy and Apple gets some concessions in the trade war.
    Ape to Trump’s who and you’ll get somewhere. Criticize him and he will turn on you in a second.

      1. How would we know? According to you, President Trump has never done or said anything that deserves criticism. We simply do not know how he would react to criticism that he regarded as justified, because he has never encountered any.

        We DO know how he reacts to any criticism with which he disagrees, which is to regard it as false, fake, and intolerable. He regards criticism of his words or actions as the equivalent of crying “Fire” in a crowded theater and therefore outside the scope of any legal or constitutional protection.

        Tim Cook has figured this out, and has therefore avoided criticizing the President in any way, shape, or form. He has restricted himself to making suggestions on how the President’s policies might be even better. The fact that the proposed “improvements” in areas such as legal immigration, nondiscrimination, energy policy, privacy protections, and free trade would constitute a complete reversal of course does not matter, so long as there is no express criticism.

        1. “How would we know? According to you, President Trump has never done or said anything that deserves criticism.“

          Did you not listen to your parents when they taught you not to LIE about people and put words in their mouths?

          And while you just wrote an ABSOLUTE statement that is false here is one from me to return the favor:

          President Trump has never done or said anything that deserves praise…

          1. Ok, then, what has he done that deserves criticism? I have repeatedly praised the President for the fact that he has not screwed up the improving economy that he inherited.

            1. Get your facts straight. President Trump inherited an anemic barely moving upward economy after the recession and also inherited unemployment in the 8% range. Trump had nothing to do with Obama’s economy and vice versa Obama has nothing to with Trump’s economy no matter how many times you and your ilk keep repeating it. I would gladly list all the economics records under Trump and disastrous numbers under Obama for comparison, but it’s a complete waste of time with a dishonest partisan in denial posting falsehoods…

        1. JUST THE FACTS:

          What a “waist” of time your ignorant comments are. Opinions are like a-holes, everybody has one but valuable ones are backed with logic and fact. Yours is useless. And the proper spelling, which would aid your credibility, is “WASTE”

      2. “…FALSE fake criticism that no one should tolerate..,”

        Hmmm…

        So tell us again about your ‘Birther conspiracy’ that you endlessly parroted here pre 2016.
        Was that not false and fake criticism?
        Will you then apologize for your fakery and falsehood since “no one” also includes you? Are you big enough?

  3. As an AAPL holder, I like the thought of getting shielded from the tariffs. As a citizen of the US, I don’t like anyone receiving preferred treatment–including myself. Someone “gets” to fight the war on the front line and others “fight” from the stateside war room where coffee and pastries are served.

    I believe it’s time to stop China’s IP swipe and other slimy actions of the Grand Absconder, but is there only one way?

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