Apple has joined HP Inc. and Microsoft on a list of prominent IT companies that will skip corporate financial sponsorship in the Republican National Convention, to be held in Cleveland beginning July 18.
Politico reported over the weekend that Apple has told Republican leaders privately that it won’t provide money or other aid due to presumptive presidential candidate Donald Trump’s controversial comments about women, immigrants and minorities.
Trump has said he is intent on expelling millions of undocumented immigrants, building a wall on the Mexican border and barring Muslims from entering the United States. Tech executives all over Silicon Valley are rankled at Trump’s critical statements about the outsourcing of manufacturing to companies in the Pan-Asia region.
Trump criticized Apple for this, calling for a boycott of the company’s products and saying that as president he would require Apple to build its iPhones and MacBooks in the United States. Trump also blasted Apple for standing up to the FBI as the government sought to force the company to unlock a password-protected iPhone tied to the San Bernardino, Calif., terrorist attack.
Will Apple Support the Democratic Convention?
Apple did not respond June 20 to a request from eWEEK for a statement or comment on this development. At this point, it is unknown as to whether the company will donate goods, services or money to the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, set for July 25-28.
Apple’s action is a clear sign of a growing disconnect between Silicon Valley from the GOP and its presumptive nominee. IT companies often supply computers—or the use of them—along with IT support and cash donations to the major political parties to help them cover services and costs for their conventions.
In the past, Apple supplied goods, services and dollars to both parties’ conventions. Campaign finance records show that the Cupertino, Calif.-based IT giant provided about $140,000 each in laptops, other equipment and support to both major party conventions in 2008.
Apple did not donate money to either party in 2012, but it did lend hardware and support to both conventions in 2012.
Prior to Hewlett-Packard’s split into HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise in November 2015, the company had been a substantial contributor to Republican campaigns. In fact, Meg Whitman, an HP Inc. board member who now is CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, ran for California governor in 2010 on the Republican ticket.
Whitman Has Come Down Hard on Trump
In the last several months, however, Whitman has denounced Trump, calling him a “dishonest demagogue” and condemning his statements on women, Muslims and others as “repugnant.”
Facebook has pledged financial and other types of support for the GOP convention, the company said earlier this month, even though CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been critical of Trump about his statements on immigration.
Google said in April it would set up a work area on the GOP convention floor. Microsoft has cut back financial support but will provide software and technical assistance to the GOP event; it plans to give software and technical assistance along with monetary support to the Democratic convention.
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