While there's been strong criticism of Apple CEO Tim Cook's decision to host a fundraiser for U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republicans, it seems he's doing what business leaders often do in the political world, even a businessman Cook deeply disdains.
"As a businessman that deals all over the world, you give. ... You help people from Republicans to Democrats," Donald Trump said back in March on The O'Reilly Factor, explaining his contributions to Hillary Clinton's campaign for president in 2008 as well as her U.S. Senate bids.
Online critics of the gay Apple CEO have called him a hypocrite for supporting politicians who oppose LGBT rights and other progressive causes, including gun control. Cook had tweeted that the Orlando massacre was an "unspeakable tragedy." Now, a commenter on the Stop Paul Ryan Now Facebook page dubbed Cook "no better than Trump."
Cook has never publicly proposed building a wall to keep Mexicans out of the U.S., tarred immigrants broadly as rapists, called women "pigs," or said he'd like to see marriage equality overturned. But when it comes to being bipartisan in political contributions, he does appear to be on the same page as Trump — and many other business executives and corporate political action committees.
"Cook long has sought to improve his company’s relationships with Democrats and Republicans — a far different approach than that of Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs, who disdained Washington," reports Politico, which this week broke the story of Cook's planned Ryan fundraiser, set to take place over breakfast next Tuesday at Cook's Northern California home. The event is a personal effort by Cook, as Apple does not have a PAC.
Cook apparently does not, however, seek a good relationship with Trump. Apple has a history of providing support to both the Republican and Democratic conventions. But the company had earlier decided not to provide cash or tech support to this year's RNC, reportedly because of the incendiary statements made by the presumptive presidential nominee.
Trump had also criticized Apple over the company's refusal to unlock a cell phone used by one of the perpetrators of the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., last December, and over its use of overseas plants to manufacture its products. (Trump companies use overseas factories, as well.)
The Ryan fundraiser will come just days after San Francisco Bay Area residents celebrate Pride with metal detectors and bag checks for the first time, thanks to anti-LGBT violence. And Ryan has blocked votes on legislation to strengthen gun control.
Ryan, who became speaker last year after John Boehner's retirement, has a strongly anti-LGBT record. He voted twice to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, voted against LGBT-inclusive hate-crimes legislation, voted against repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and voted to ban adoption by same-sex couples in the District of Columbia, over which Congress exerts some control. He ran for vice president in 2012, when Mitt Romney headed the Republican ticket.
On the blog Daily Kos, a gay man going by the name Kevin1957 wrote that he was "shocked" by the news of the Ryan fundraiser, and predicted Apple would lose the business of many LGBT people and Democrats. He emailed Cook about the matter. Cook has not spoken to the press about it, but he did reply to Kevin1957, who shared the email. "I hope my lifetime of advocacy for human rights for all people make it clear what I believe and it is this belief that guides me every day," Cook said in part. The Daily Kos contributor emailed Cook again but has not received further replies.
Cook also received some critiques on Twitter:
Dear Tim Cook: I love you but you’ve chosen darkness. https://t.co/nqbzXyP4Z6
— James Elliott (@jhames) June 23, 2016
Tim Cook is hosting a fundraiser for Paul Ryan, and I'm pretty sure it's not because of his position on gay rights. https://t.co/TA2sWHuAEv
— Adam Smith (@asmith83) June 21, 2016
— Jason Febery (@JasonFebery) June 21, 2016