Apple Employees Strongly Support Tim Cook’s Relationship With Donald Trump, Survey Shows

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Written by Dana Sanchez
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Apple CEO Tim Cook has lobbied Trump to get Apple products exempted from China tariffs. Apple employees appear to approve of the relationship. Cook and the president speak during a tour of an Apple manufacturing plant, Nov. 20, 2019, in Austin. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Apple CEO Tim Cook has lobbied President Trump heavily in the past year to get Apple’s products exempted from China tariffs. His efforts appear to be working and a survey of 100-plus Apple employees shows most respondents approve of their boss’s relationship with Trump, Fortune reported.

In March, Trump called Cook “Tim Apple” and said the CEO had become a friend of his. In August, Cook had dinner with Trump to discuss the U.S.-China trade war. Afterwards, Trump said that Cook made a “good case” for why Apple shouldn’t have to pay tariffs on China-made goods.

“It’s tough for Apple to pay tariffs if it’s competing with a very good company that’s not,” Trump said, referring to Apple competitor Samsung. South Korea-based Samsung is exempt from the tariffs because it makes most of its products outside China.

Apple could be hit hard in the trade war. On Sept. 1, the U.S. imposed a 15- percent tariff on $112 billion worth of China-made goods, including Macs and Apple Watches. On Dec. 15, the Trump administration plans even stiffer tariffs of 25 percent on many more goods, including the Apple iPhone.

The anonymous workplace social network Blind conducted a survey of 100-plus Apple employees on Fortune’s behalf. According to the findings, 81.6 percent of Apple employees said they support Cook’s efforts to engage the president on matters that “shape policy in Apple’s favor.” Almost the same percentage of respondents said they believe it’s “fair that some of Apple’s products have been exempted from U.S. tariffs on Chinese-made goods.”

Cook is as an advisor on Trump’s A.I. advisory board, but has spoken out against some Trump administration’s policies such as DACA.

More than half the respondents on the Blind social network identify themselves as engineers, Fox News reported.

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Apple’s employees have donated more money to 2020 Democratic candidates than to the Trump re-election campaign, according to OpenSecrets.org. That includes $88,000-plus to Sen. Bernie Sanders and $68,000-plus to Sen. Elizabeth Warren vs. $5,100 to Trump.

Wired analyzed more than 125,000 contributions made to federal candidates in 2018 by employees of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. The data came from the US Federal Election Commission. 

Just over 1 percent of the $15 million sent to candidates went to Republicans and 23 percent of the funds went to Democrats. The remainder went to non-partisan groups and company political action committees.

The results of the Apple employee survey favoring Cook’s efforts to lobby Trump are surprising, Fox News reported. They are “seemingly putting it at odds with its Silicon Valley brethren.”