President Donald Trump told The Wall Street Journal that Apple CEO Tim Cook has committed the company to building “three big plants, beautiful plants” in the U.S. While Apple has reportedly discussed having its manufacturing partners move some of their facilities to the U.S., Apple has never publicly expressed any plans to open facilities in the U.S. In January, Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou said his company is considering a $7 billion investment with Apple in a “highly automated” display production facility inside the U.S., creating between 30,000 and 50,000 jobs. Gou said that Trump’s tough talk on the campaign trail about implementing high tariffs on imports led him to conclude that an increase in protectionist policies is “inevitable,” but warned of rising prices if production is moved to the U.S.
Apple has opposed the White House on a wide range of issues — including immigration, transgender rights and climate change — and the company didn’t comment on what Trump’s comments mean. But Trump told reporters, “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 pulled its support for the GOP’s national convention last year in protest to Donald Trump’s inflammatory comments on the campaign trail, which included calling for a boycott of Apple products after the company refused to comply with an FBI order to unlock a terrorist’s iPhone. Since then Cook has visited the White House to lobby Trump to include coding courses in school curriculum.