Apple was among more than a dozen US companies to warn the Trump administration about the severe implications of banning WeChat from their platforms. President Trump is seeking to ban the app due to national security concerns, and during a press conference today, he offered a “rebuttal” to Apple’s argument.
During a press conference with reporters at the White House today, Trump was asked about the implications of the WeChat ban by Bloomberg correspondent Justin Sink. In his response, Trump doubled down on the national security concerns and said a simple “whatever” to Apple’s concerns:
Here’s the transcription of the interaction:
Sink: There’s a lot of alarm among American companies about your order on WeChat. Apple, Ford, Disney, they’re worried because it’s such a big communications platform and payment platform in China, that if you ban US businesses from working with them, that they won’t be able to sell iPhones in China or similar markets.
Trump: Whatever .
Sink: So you don’t mind…?
Trump: Gotta do what’s good in terms of the security of our country. We’ve been very badly let down by China.
Trump signed an executive order last week aiming to ban transactions between US companies and the Chinese companies behind TikTok and WeChat. The order will take effect in September, and Microsoft is working to acquire TikTok in the United States.
Apple and companies such as Disney, Ford, Intel, Morgan Stanley, UPS, and Walmart participated in a call with Trump Administration officials this week, warning that the consequences of this ban could be “severe.” In Apple’s case, WeChat is everything for iPhone users in China, and banning the app from the worldwide App Store could be disastrous for iPhone sales in China.
One of the issues raised on the call is that the scope of the order is entirely unclear. Does it apply only in the US, or to all transactions worldwide, including China? If the latter, that could be devastating for Apple. Noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo this week warned that it could slash the iPhone maker’s global sales by as much as 30%.
The White House has yet to address the points made during the call, and Trump’s comments today didn’t appear to offer any further clarification.
Watch the interaction in the below video at the 20-minute and 49-second mark.
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