What you need to know
- President Donald Trump has claimed he "opened" Apple's manufacturing plant in Texas.
- He made the claim following his tour of the facility, November 20, and again later that day on Twitter.
- Apple has in fact been manufacturing the Mac Pro there since 2013.
Yesterday marked the highly touted visit of President Donald Trump to Apple's manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas, but the visit was not without its controversies.
In fact, during the visit, Donald Trump managed to set the internet on fire, after claiming that he had "opened" Apple's manufacturing plant that day, despite the fact that the factory has been making Apple's Mac Pro since 2013... six years ago... He reportedly said this to press during the tour, before taking to Twitter later that day to reiterate his statement.
Today I opened a major Apple Manufacturing plant in Texas that will bring high paying jobs back to America. Today Nancy Pelosi closed Congress because she doesn’t care about American Workers!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2019
We have begun manufacturing the Mac Pro in Austin. It’s the most powerful Mac ever. Orders start tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/Jrd1Gic3Ya— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) December 18, 2013
The New York Times' Jack Nicas also pointed out the falsity of the statement on Twitter:
President Trump just toured a Texas plant that has been making Apple computers since 2013 and took credit for it, suggesting the plant opened today. "Today is a very special day."
Tim Cook spoke immediately after him and did not correct the record.
President Trump: "I said, 'Someday we're going to see Apple building plants in our country, not in China. And that's what's happening."
This is false. Apple hasn't built any plants in the U.S. & still makes the vast majority of its products in China.
Nicas also noted that the plant in Texas is not even Apple's own, it is in fact owned and run by a company called Flextronics. This is despite the fact the President falsely claimed, "I said, 'Someday we're going to see Apple building plants in our country, not in China. And that's what's happening."
The plant the president toured today with @tim_cook is owned and run by a company called Flextronics. It has been making Apple computers since 2013. Little has changed there.— Jack Nicas (@jacknicas) November 20, 2019
That plant employs about 500 people in Texas. Apple's Chinese manufacturers employ millions of people.
It seems very difficult to pinpoint exactly what President Trump was trying to get at with his claim during the tour and his later tweet. Whilst Apple did announce the beginning of construction work on a new Campus in Texas yesterday, that facility will not be opened until 2022 and has absolutely nothing to do with manufacturing whatsoever. It seems far-fetched to try and suggest that President Trump was somehow confused by the two respective events.
Whether or not President Trump is genuinely mistaken about Apple's plant (unlikely), or whether he was simply bending the truth, the episode is most certainly an embarrassment for Apple and Tim Cook. Whilst Nicas (above) noted "I don't know why Tim Cook didn't correct the president", it can safely be assumed that fact-checking the President live in front of the world's press may not have done wonders for Cook's carefully curated relationship with the President. Furthermore, as the reaction of the internet to this blunder shows, everyone else is seemingly aware that President Trump's claim was false, Tim Cook may well have known this also, prudently choosing to remain silent.
This wasn't the only revelation from the visit, however. Again, somewhat awkwardly, President Trump reportedly complimented Tim Cook before asking him what he thought of the US economy, to which Tim Cook replied, "I think we have the strongest economy in the world right now." The President also said on the subject of tariffs, we"ll look into that."
Regarding the Mac Pro, Apple has confirmed that the new juggernaut desktop offering from the company will be available in December, along with the Pro Display XDR.
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