Last week, Tim Cook was part of a roundtable meeting with President-elect Donald Trump and other technology executives, including Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, Eric Schmidt, and Elon Musk. Given that Cook and Trump have pretty apparent differences on the surface, many wondered why Cook attended the meeting in the first place.
Cook was asked this very question on Apple’s internal employee info service Apple Web today, and TechCrunch got its hands on the answer.
When asked why he felt it was important to meet with President-elect Trump, Cook explained that he feels there’s more value in engaging rather than sitting on the sidelines. Even when you disagree with someone.
Furthermore, Cook explained that it’s important to engage with governments everywhere, including in the United States, the European Union, China, and South America. “You don’t change things by just yelling,” Cook wrote. “You change things by showing everyone why your way is the best.”
Cook then cited a handful of issues important to Apple, such as the environment and combating climate change, security, education, and human rights.
It’s important to note that throughout the multi-paragraph response, Cook didn’t mention Trump by name. Although, the aforementioned issues laid out by Cook are ones that Trump has taken controversial stances on.
While specific details of Trump’s meeting with tech executives remain unclear, a report following the meeting claimed that immigration, China, and jobs were central discussion points.
The full text of Tim Cook’s response to the question, “Last week you joined other tech leaders to meet President-elect Donald Trump. How important is it for Apple to engage with governments?” can be read below:
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.
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