Last week, President Donald Trump said Apple and its CEO Tim Cook had personally promised to build three “big beautiful plants” in the United States.
Apple has been silent about Trump’s remarks, declining to comment to Business Insider and scores of other newspapers and outlets that have asked.
On Tuesday, during Apple’s earning call, Cook was asked point blank about what the President said about him, and the three “big, beautiful plants.”
Cook dodged the direct question.
Here’s the exchange:
UBS analyst Steven Milunovich: Government question, first of all: The president suggested that you may build three big beautiful plants. Wonder if you’d comment on if that’s a possibility, either directly or indirectly.
Apple CEO Tim Cook: Sure, starting with the US. Let me just take this question from a “what are we doing to increase jobs” [standpoint], which I think is probably where it’s rooted. We’ve created 2 million jobs in the U.S. we’re incredibly proud of that. We do view we have a responsibility in the US to increase economic activity, including increasing jobs. Because Apple could have only been created here. So as we look at that 2 million, there are three main categories of that, to further build on that momentum.
The first category is app development. About three quarters of the 2 million are app developers, and we are doing an enormous amount of things to deliver curriculum to K-12 with Swift Playgrounds, in the K-6 area, other curriculum as you proceed beyond grade 6. Just a couple of months ago, we announced a new curriculum that’s focused on community schools, community colleges, junior colleges, technical colleges, for kids that did not have coding in their elementary and high school years. And so we’re excited about that because we think it could increase the diversity of the developer community and the quantity. And we think that this area in general and all the things we do for the developer community will be the largest contribution Apple can make because this is the fastest growing job segment in the country and we think will be for quite some time.
If you look at the second area, we have purchased about $50 billion worth of goods and services from US-based suppliers. Some significant proportion of those are manufacturing-related, and so we’ve asked ourselves what we can do to increase this. And you may have seen at the beginning of the quarter, April I believe, we announced an advanced manufacturing fund, that we’re initially placing $1 billion in, and we’ve already deployed $200 million of that. The first recipient is Corning, in Kentucky, and they’ll be using that money to expand the plant to make very innovative glass. We purchased that glass and essentially export it to the world with iPhones and iPads. We think there’s more of these we can do, there are probably several plants that can benefit from having some investment to grow or expand or even maybe set up shop in the US for the first time.