In a recent Q&A on Apple’s internal info web service, Tim Cook explained to employees why he met with President-elect Donald Trump last week. Cook was one of many executives that participated in a high-profile roundtable with Trump to discuss a variety of tech-related issues.
The meeting inspired a lot of negative reactions from folks in and around Silicon Valley, who felt like it was hypocritical of the tech leaders to meet with Trump, given their public condemnations of his comments and actions. But Cook explains that open communication is important.
TechCrunch has the question and Cook’s response:
Last week you joined other tech leaders to meet President-elect Donald Trump. How important is it for Apple to engage with governments?
It’s very important. Governments can affect our ability to do what we do. They can affect it in positive ways and they can affect in not so positive ways. What we do is focus on the policies. Some of our key areas of focus are on privacy and security, education. They’re on advocating for human rights for everyone, and expanding the definition of human rights. They’re on the environment and really combating climate change, something we do by running our business on 100 percent renewable energy.
And of course, creating jobs is a key part of what we do by giving people opportunity not only with people that work directly for Apple, but the large number of people that are in our ecosystem. We’re really proud that we’ve created 2 million jobs, just in this country. A great percentage of those are app developers. This gives everyone the power to sell their work to the world, which is an unbelievable invention in and of itself.
We have other things that are more business-centric — like tax reform — and something we’ve long advocated for: a simple system. And we’d like intellectual property reform to try to stop the people suing when they don’t do anything as a company.
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.
We very much stand up for what we believe in. We think that’s a key part of what Apple is about. And we’ll continue to do so.
It’s always admirable when two sides can set aside their differences and agree to work together to push things forward. There’s no telling where this will lead, but it was reported that Tim Cook and Tesla’s Elon Musk stayed after the lengthy meeting for further discussions with Trump.
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