At a White House meeting last week, President Trump addressed Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, as “Tim Apple,” drawing days of guffaws. And the president is still clarifying this five days later.
On Wednesday, Trump hosted Cook at the White House for a meeting of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board. After Cook spoke, per The Inquisitr, Trump said, in view of cameras, “thank you, Tim Apple.” Last year, Trump had referred to Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson similarly, with her first name followed by “Lockheed.”
Cook reacted with good humor, even changing his Twitter display name to “Tim Apple,” with the Apple logo standing in for the word “Apple.” But over the weekend, the president reportedly told donors at a fundraising event that he had not, in fact, said “Tim Apple.”
According to Axios, citing more than one donor, Trump told assembled political donors over the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort that rather than “Tim Apple,” he had actually said “Tim Cook Apple” quickly. Videos, however, suggest that this is not true, as the clip appeared on national television of Trump clearly saying “Tim Apple.”
On Monday morning, five days after the original meeting, Trump tried to clarify things again on Twitter.
“At a recent round table meeting of business executives, & long after formally introducing Tim Cook of Apple, I quickly referred to Tim + Apple as Tim/Apple as an easy way to save time & words,” the president tweeted to his nearly 59 million followers. “The Fake News was disparagingly all over this, & it became yet another bad Trump story!”
Despite how the president had again taken to Twitter to blast media outlets for reporting “fake news,” the president’s explanation of his gaffe got a lot more news coverage than any other aspect of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board meeting.
While Trump has feuded with many tech CEOs throughout his presidency, including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Trump and Cook have always had a cordial relationship. The pair have met multiple times, with Cook notably invited as a guest to a state dinner at the White House last year. Cook, while occasionally criticizing certain Trump policies on immigration and other issues, has praised Trump’s tax reform package, which passed in late 2017.
Cook’s Twitter display still had the “Tim Apple” joke as of Monday morning.
“I just thought, why would you lie about that?” a Trump donor who attended the weekend fundraiser told Axios. “It doesn’t even matter!”