According to multiple Republican donors who were present at the event, President Trump made an odd characterization of a recent gaffe in which he accidentally referred to Apple’s Tim Cook as “Tim Apple,” Axios reports.
The remarks came at a fundraising event at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago country club in Florida.
According to more than one donor in attendance, Trump claimed that his flubbing of Cook’s name was in fact, as the president likes to say, fake news. He went on to claim that he had actually said “Tim Cook Apple” very quickly and that the news media had simply pounced on an opportunity to make him appear foolish.
The claim was particularly odd given the fact that a video clip of the misstep has widely made the rounds on social media and can be viewed easily by anyone with an interest in hearing it firsthand.
“I just thought, why would you lie about that?” wondered one of the donors when speaking to an Axios reporter. “It doesn’t even matter!”
The minor incident took place as Cook appeared with Trump at a meeting of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board. After Cook’s remarks, in which he shared some insights about upcoming Apple initiatives, Trump clearly replies, “thank you, Tim Apple.”
The president’s sensitivity notwithstanding, most took the gaffe in good humor.
Cook himself, in fact, responded with subtlety after the meeting: he changed his Twitter handle to Tim Apple, using his company’s iconic logo in place of his last name.
Cook has been Apple’s CEO since 2011 following the resignation of Steve Jobs. Previously, however, he had stepped in on multiple occasions as acting CEO in response to the ongoing health problems of Jobs. Cook became CEO as part of a planned succession strategy that was implemented when Jobs announced his resignation before dying later that year.
Interestingly, Cook is not the only business leader who has been misnamed by Trump, or even the only one to have been misnamed in this very specific manner.
In 2008, he very similarly referred to Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson as Marillyn Lockheed. Martin did not, however, respond with an amusing change to her Twitter bio.
Trump’s Mar-a-Lago equivocation on the minor “Tim Apple” controversy isn’t the first time the president has implored others to mistrust their own ears when it comes to things he’s said on tape.
When his presidential campaign was threatened by the controversial Access Hollywood tape in which he is clearly heard talking about sexually harassing women in a variety of ways, The New York Times reported that Trump suggested to a Senator that the recording was in fact fabricated.
Trump did not press that issue further, however, and later apologized for what he famously called mere “locker room talk” between men.