We noted yesterday President Trump’s claim to have ‘opened’ a ‘new’ Mac plant that has in fact been operating since 2013. Apple is today coming under fire for failing to correct that lie.

More broadly, it is being suggested that Cook was willing to be used as an electioneering prop by Trump in his attempts to win concessions on import tariffs on Apple products coming from China…

At yesterday’s visit to the Mac Pro plant, which coincided with Apple breaking ground on a non-manufacturing campus, Trump claimed the manufacturing facility was a new one.

We’re seeing the beginning of a very powerful and important plant. Anybody that followed my campaign, I would always talk about Apple, that I want to see Apple building plants in the United States. And that’s what’s happening.

Tim Cook didn’t look impressed by the claim, but said nothing.

Trump later repeated the claim in a tweet.

Today I opened a major Apple Manufacturing plant in Texas that will bring high paying jobs back to America.

We pointed out at the time that this was not the case.

What’s important to note is that the facilities toured by Cook and Trump today have been used for Mac production since 2013. The announcement made today simply coincided with the visit, and there is nothing new about the facilities that the two toured.

Today, Apple is being criticized for remaining silent. The New York Times ran a piece in which it noted that Cook failed to correct Trump’s statement at the time.

It was a pretty typical publicity event, until the end. Mr. Trump walked in front of the news cameras and took credit for the plant, suggesting it had opened that day. “For me, this is a very special day,” he said. Mr. Cook stood next to him, stone-faced.

The plant has been making Apple computers since 2013.

Immediately after Mr. Trump’s comments, Mr. Cook thanked the president and his staff. “I’m grateful for their support in pulling today off and getting us to this far. It would not be possible without them,” he said. He did not correct the record.

Noted Apple commentator John Gruber went further, suggesting that Cook effectively allowed himself to be part of a Trump election campaign stunt.

Appearing alongside Trump at an Apple facility in a staged photo-op is implicit support for Trump and his re-election.

This wasn’t a promotion for the Mac Pro or its assembly plant. It was a promotion for Trump. This video makes it look like Trump’s trade policies have been good for Apple and that Tim Cook supports Trump […]

A low moment in Apple’s proud history, and a sadly iconic moment for Tim Cook. I hope avoiding those tariffs is worth it.

I recently argued that China is turning into a massive PR liability for Apple. Being associated with false claims by a controversial US president which doesn’t reflect the values of Apple, likewise, is not a good look for either Cook or his company.

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Photo: Pete Marovich for The New York Times

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About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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