Tim Cook was one of several technology CEOs who attended last weekend’s American Enterprise Institute World Forum, an annual gathering of top Republicans and influential business leaders that this year primarily focused on how to deal with Donald Trump, The Huffington Post reports. The secret meeting was closed to the press, but sources familiar with the discussions said leaders from Apple, Google, Tesla and other tech giants sat alongside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan and other prominent Republicans as political guru Karl Rove presented focus group findings about Trump exposing the business mogul’s weaknesses.
Trump has publicly criticized Apple for refusing to aid the FBI in breaking the encryption on the San Bernardino terrorist’s phone, so Apple has a particularly strong interest in efforts to ensure the businessman doesn’t become the GOP’s eventual nominee.
But the room wasn’t exactly a friendly one for Cook, with GOP Senator Tom Cotton reportedly taking the CEO to task regarding Apple’s recent battle with the FBI. Sources said the fierce debate about cell phone encryption made “everyone was a little uncomfortable about how hostile Cotton was.” Neither Cook nor Apple has publicly commented on the meeting.