Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly conferred with some of the country’s biggest tech leaders, as well as a few top Republicans to discuss the campaign of presidential candidate Donald Trump.
In a report released on Monday, Tim Cook was said to have been present in a secret meeting with several tech industry leaders, including Google CEO Larry Page, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and others. Republican leaders present at the gathering included Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, Cory Gardner, Tim Scott, Rob Portman, and Ben Sasse.
Meanwhile, billionaire Philip Anschutz and The New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger were among the representatives of the private sector in the meeting.
— Business Insider (@businessinsider) March 8, 2016
The meeting reportedly took place at a private island resort off the coast of Georgia over the weekend, during the American Enterprise Institute’s annual World Forum.
— Apple Insider (@TheAppleInsider) March 8, 2016
An emailed report from The Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol said that the main agenda of the meeting was Trump’s campaign for the highest office in the land.
However, the meeting did not particularly make plans on how to stop him, but talked about the reasons why Trump has gained such a huge following.
The attendees of the meeting, which was closed to the media and the public, are reportedly unhappy that Trump is getting closer to his goal of becoming president of the United States of America. The emailed report even referred to the situation as the “specter of Donald Trump.”
The specter of Donald Trump is haunting Davos https://t.co/4ohXqZZhBE pic.twitter.com/KhoH4VnNHA
— Bloomberg TV (@BloombergTV) January 22, 2016
Republican political consultant Karl Rove also shed some light on the meeting regarding focus group findings on the billionaire and TV personality. He said that people are having a “hard time envisioning him” as president.
In addition to Trump and his campaign for presidency, the secret meeting also discussed encryption and security. In a report by The Huffington Post, Senator Cotton was particularly harsh on Tim Cook concerning Apple’s refusal to provide a way for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to access the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter who killed 14 and injured 22 in December.
Cotton, who is a member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, questioned the Apple chief executive in the meeting and reportedly sparked a heated debate.
“Cotton was pretty harsh on Cook,” one source knowledgeable of the meeting said. “Everyone was a little uncomfortable about how hostile Cotton was.”
— POLITICO (@politico) December 22, 2015
In February, the FBI, through a court order, asked Apple to disable the feature that prompted the iPhone to erase all of its stored data if the incorrect password is keyed a number of times.
The federal agency said that it would only use the tool to disable the auto-erase feature of the iPhone, and that it would not allow them to decode the password right away. The FBI added that they have a tool to initiate the decoding process.
On the other hand, the Cupertino-based manufacturer argued that doing so would violate its terms and the rights of its consumers. Apple also added that it could not guarantee that the FBI would only use the tool to open the suspect’s iPhone, and not anyone else’s.
Trump has also commented on the issue, calling on consumers to boycott Apple products for failing to work with the FBI.
— Money (@MONEY) February 26, 2016
This was not the first time that Trump took a jab at Apple, which has manufacturing sites across the globe. He said that he would “get Apple to start building their damn computers and things in this country, instead of other countries.”
[Image by Astrid Stawiarz, Getty Images]