Apple CEO shows his strong relationship with Trump during Mac Pro factory tour

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Apple CEO Tim Cook talked Mac Pro with President Trump
Apple CEO Tim Cook talks Mac Pro and American jobs with President Trump.
Screenshot: White House

President Donald Trump today toured the factory in Texas where the blazing-fast new Mac Pro is being assembled. His tour guide was Apple CEO Tim Cook, further demonstrating the good relationship the two have, despite disagreeing on many topics.

Today’s get together is only the most recent — Trump and Cook have spoken many times. “I don’t believe in having people talk on my behalf,” Cook told ABC News. “I don’t believe in lobbyists. I believe in direct conversation. I strongly believe in engagement. I hate polarization. I despise it.”

Trump has a simple explanation how he and Tim Cook developed their working relationship: “He’s the one that calls me. You know why? That’s why he’s a great executive because he calls me, and others don’t. Others go out and hire very expensive consultants, and Tim Cook calls Donald Trump directly. Pretty good. And I would take their call, too, but the only one that calls me is Tim Cook.”

Nevertheless, the two don’t see eye-to-eye on many topics. Cook doesn’t agree with Trump’s use of tariffs, and has told him so in the past. The two men also disagree on immigration policy.

Mac Pro made in America

But the subject today was the Mac Pro, which is being assembled in a Flextronics plant in Austin, Texas. The fact that this professional-grade desktop is being made in America is what brought Trump out to see it. His daughter and advisor Ivanka Trump was there too, as was Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury.

“We are really proud to make the Mac Pro here — this computer is our most powerful computer we’ve ever made, by far,” Tim Cook told ABC News.

His relationship with the president may have played a role in getting exceptions from import tariffs for 10 of the 15 Mac Pro components produced in China. Otherwise, these would have been caught in Trump’s trade war with China.

Trump might waive iPhone tariffs

Cook’s next challenge is convincing the President to waive import taxes on iPhones, Macs and iPads that will go into effect December 15.

Trump seems to be strongly considering it. When asked about Apple tariffs today, the president said “The problem we have is you have Samsung. It’s a great company but it’s a competitor of Apple, and it’s not fair if, because we have a trade deal with Korea — we made a great trade deal with South Korea — but we have to treat Apple on a somewhat similar basis as we treat Samsung,” according to Reuters.

Bringing Samsung into the decision didn’t come out of the blue. Tim Cook made this exact argument to Trump in August.