Trump takes credit for Apple's new Texas factory, but not a word of his tweet is true



Yesterday we told you that the current version of The Odd Couple, Apple CEO Tim Cook and the country's Chief Executive Donald Trump, got together at the factory in Austin, Texas where Mac Pro desktop computers are assembled. Trump suggested that he would look into the possibility of exempting Apple from having to pay the import tax that Trump imposed on goods shipped to the U.S. from China. Of course, if China was paying the U.S. Treasury millions because of the tariffs like the president misleadingly said in a previous tweet (and which he repeated last week), exempting Apple wouldn't be necessary, right?

We understand that the president has some other things on his mind. But what can you say about a tweet disseminated yesterday (via The Verge) in which Trump wrote, "Today I opened a major Apple Manufacturing plant in Texas that will bring high paying jobs back to America. Today Nancy Pelosi closed Congress because she doesn’t care about American Workers!"  However, the factory was actually built in 2013 when President Barack Obama was in the White House; also the factory doesn't belong to Apple and is owned by Flex Ltd. (which was known as Flextronics, previously). Apple is building a campus in Austin where it will do design and engineering work and will not be manufacturing products there. If you feel a sense of deja vu, it's no wonder. Back in 2017, the president said that he had been told by Cook in a phone call that Apple would build "three big plants, beautiful plants" in the states. However, Apple denied that the call had even taken place.

The "New Apple factory" Trump took credit for yesterday was opened in 2013...and isn't owned by Apple


Reuters reports that during yesterday's tour of the Austin plant that assembles the Mac Pro, Trump asked Cook to help develop 5G wireless infrastructure for the U.S. Not only hasn't Apple sunk a penny into 5G wireless infrastructure, the company has yet to announce a 5G iPhone. Without explaining how he would expect Apple to help build out 5G, the president turned to Twitter to post a tweet that read, "They have it all - Money, Technology, Vision & Cook!" 5G is the next generation of wireless connectivity and will, at first, offer download data speeds 10 times faster than 4G. Because the faster speeds will lead to the creation of new businesses and industries, the president sees the importance of having U.S. carriers offer 5G to consumers as soon as possible. 


The reason why Trump might have asked Apple's CEO to develop 5G wireless infrastructure has to do with something that his administration is responsible for. The world's largest networking equipment supplier is Huawei. Yes, that's the same Huawei considered to be a national security threat which is why Trump banned the Chinese manufacturer from accessing supplies from the states. In May, Trump declared a national emergency via executive order, demanding that U.S. wireless operators be blocked from using networking gear from companies considered to be a security threat to America. However, the Commerce Department, which was supposed to sign off on the order in the middle of October, has yet to do so. The reason? Rural carriers depend on Huawei equipment for their 3G and 4G networks and banning the firm's gear could cause rural Americans to lose their internet connections.

U.S. officials tried to get Oracle and Cisco to supply networking equipment to rural carriers, but neither company produces these parts and both said that it would take too much time and money to do so. It is possible that Trump was hoping that Apple could quickly develop such networking equipment in an effort to formalize the executive order and keep rural Americans online and connected.

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