Ask Tim Cook about Donald Trump saying three Apple factories are going to be built in the United States and you’ll get an answer, but not to that question. That’s what happened when Apple’s CEO was asked that very question during the company’s third fiscal quarter earnings report on Tuesday.
Here’s what Mr. Trump said in late July:
I spoke to [Mr. Cook], he’s promised me three big plants—big, big, big. I said you know, Tim, unless you start building your plants in this country, I won’t consider my administration an economic success. He called me, and he said they are going forward.
Apple hasn’t publicly talked about building three factories in the U.S., and the only word anyone has heard about the facilities has come from Mr. Trump. So analysts asked about that specifically during the earnings conference call.
Mr. Cook replied,
Let me just take this question from a what are we doing to increase jobs standpoint, which I believe is where it’s rooted. We created 2 million jobs in the U.S. We do view that we have a responsibility to increase economic activity in the United States, including creating jobs, because Apple could only have been created here.
He added that Apple is looking at how in can increase the services and supplies it purchases in the U.S.
Mr. Cook’s answer wasn’t an answer at all, which sometimes is an answer, too. What we know for certain is that Mr. Trump said Apple is building three manufacturing facilities in the U.S., and Mr. Cook isn’t going to confirm or deny that.
It’s possible Apple is building the three factories and just doesn’t want to talk about the plans yet. Or maybe there aren’t any factories planned and Mr. Cook didn’t want to directly contradict the statement. It’s also possible the truth is somewhere in the middle and Apple isn’t ready to spill the beans yet.
There’s also the possibility that Mr. Trump confused Foxconn’s television LCD panel factory that’s coming to Wisconsin with an Apple factory.
In the end what we know for sure is that Mr. Trump said Apple is building three factories in the U.S., Mr. Cook doesn’t want to talk about that statement, and Foxconn is building a factory that won’t be making anything for Apple.