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Why Trump Shouldn’t Believe Tim Cook’s Promise of New Factories

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has promised Trump that the company would build three manufacturing plants in America, but Cook has a history of laying off American workers.

President Donald Trump told the Wall Street Journal during an interview that Apple’s CEO Tim Cook had promised him that the company would build three big manufacturing plants in the United States. But Cook, who made his name at Apple by closing its American factories, has a history of outsourcing American jobs to Asia.

According to a Business Insider profile of Cook, one of his “biggest early coups was closing Apple’s own factories and warehouses and replacing them with contract manufacturers.”

This included closing Apple’s last American factory, based out of Elk Grove, California, in 2004, which resulted in laying off 235 full-time American workers.

The Sacramento Bee said that the closing of the Elk Grove plant was like “cutting out the core of what used to be one of the brightest stars in the region’s high-tech constellation.”

In 2000, Colorado Springs “was riding a high-tech job boom,” in big part because of Apple’s 250,000-square-foot manufacturing building.

Apple had “sold the Fountain plant to an electronics firm in 1996. The new owners continued to manufacture Apple computers under contract for three years until production there also moved abroad.”

Apple’s decision to move production overseas, an initiative that was spearheaded by Cook, resulted in Colorado Springs losing 40 percent of its manufacturing and information technology jobs.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:

“More than 15,000 jobs – paying from $55,000 to $80,000 plus benefits – simply vanished, according to local economic-development officials, sucking an estimated $500 million out of the local economy.”

It should also be noted that this isn’t the first time Cook has promised a President that Apple would start making its products in America. In 2013, then-President Obama invited Cook to the State of the Union to applaud Apple for its plans to move some of its MacBook Pro production back to America.

While Cook did bring the production of the MacBook Pro to America, there are now reportedly internal talks within the company about moving production back to Asia. According to a New York Magazine article:

“Apple manufactures its high-end Mac Pros, a tiny slice of its overall business, here in the U.S., but the work is done through a partnership with Taiwanese firm Flextronics — and that factory has struggled to keep up even with the tiny demand for Mac Pro towers, causing Apple to consider shifting production over to Asia.”

So President Trump should take Cook’s promise to build three new manufacturing plants in America with a grain of salt, given Cook’s well-documented history of outsourcing Apple manufacturing jobs.