- REUTERS/Tom Brenner
- Tim Cook spoke to ABC News about his conversations with President Donald Trump, and said he prefers to deal with the president personally.
- “I don’t believe in lobbyists. I believe in direct conversation,” said Cook.
- Since 2017 Apple has spent almost $18 million on lobbying the Trump administration, and hired a pro-Trump lobbyist last week.
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Apple CEO Tim Cook told ABC News that he doesn’t believe in lobbying, despite the millions Apple shells out every year lobbying the US government.
Cook gave an interview to ABC’s Rebecca Jarvis on Wednesday at Apple’s Mac Pro manufacturing plant in Austin, Texas. President Trump flew down to tour the plant the same day and walked around with Cook.
Cook’s apparently cordial relationship with Trump has drawn some interest and scrutiny. Cook is known to call the president directly, and the Apple CEO has a relationship with Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“I don’t believe in having people talk on my behalf,” Cook told ABC’s Jarvis on Wednesday. “I don’t believe in lobbyists. I believe in direct conversation. I strongly believe in engagement. I hate polarization. I despise it.”
Cook may not believe in lobbyists, but Apple has spent $5.5 million on lobbying in the US so far this year according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Last week Apple made a high-profile hire in the form of Jeff Miller, a pro-Trump lobbyist who was also tapped by Amazon in July of this year.
It is worth noting however that Apple’s lobbying budget has fallen over the last two years. In 2017 it spent $7.2 million, followed by $6.6 million in 2018. Apple’s lobbying spend is also the smallest of the big tech companies, since 2017 its total spend is nearly $18 million. This is in comparison to:
- $24 million from Microsoft.
- $32 million from Facebook.
- $36 million from Amazon.
- $47 million from Alphabet, Google’s parent company.
According to Apple’s filings in Europe, it employs around seven lobbyists in the EU and its lobbying spend went up significantly in 2017 to $2.2 million.
It’s possible that Cook’s more personal approach with Trump is having some effect. During his tour of the Austin facility Trump told journalists that he is considering making tariff exemptions for Apple in the ongoing trade war with China. Apple has been hit by tariffs on products which are put together in China, affecting the Apple Watch and AirPods among other products.