International Desk: The president of the United States called out two of the nation’s largest tech firms in a pair of tweets this morning. Google was the first target. The statement follows weeks of suggested investigations of the tech giant over a supposed relationship with China.
“There may or may not be National Security concerns with regard to Google and their relationship with China,” Trump tweeted at two minutes after 10AM ET. “If there is a problem, we will find out about it. I sincerely hope there is not!!!”
The ambiguous suggestion appears to be a direct response to statements earlier this month from entrepreneur and Trump advisor Peter Thiel, who suggested that the company may have been infiltrated by Chinese government agents.
“A great and brilliant guy who knows this subject better than anyone!” The president tweeted on July 16, addressing a suggestion that it “should be investigated for treason.” He added, “The Trump Administration will take a look!”
Google firmly denied the claim, telling the press at the time, “As we have said before, we do not work with the Chinese military.”
Six minutes after taking on Google this morning, it was Apple’s turn. This time, Trump addressed ongoing concerns around the averse impact his tariffs would have on U.S. tech companies.
“Apple will not be given Tariff wavers, or relief, for Mac Pro parts that are made in China,” he tweeted. “Make them in the USA, no Tariffs!”
The statement appears to be a response to reports from late-June that Apple would be moving production of the long-awaited high-end desktop overseas. It had reportedly targeted a plant outside of Shanghai for production after using a Texas plant to help produce earlier models.
“We’re proud to support manufacturing facilities in 30 US states and last year we spent $60 billion with over 9,000 suppliers across the US,” Apple responded to that report. “Our investment and innovation supports 2 million American jobs. Final assembly is only one part of the manufacturing process.”
Tim Cook met with Trump to argue his case when tariffs were first announced. Since then, the president has taken to Twitter in an attempt to clarify his position with exclamation marks and hashtags. “Apple prices may increase because of the massive Tariffs we may be imposing on China – but there is an easy solution where there would be ZERO tax, and indeed a tax incentive,” he wrote in September. “Make your products in the United States instead of China. Start building new plants now.
risingbd/July 27, 2019/Mukul