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Apple: Latest Powerhouse to Skip GOP Convention Funding

Grant Whittington headshotWords by Grant Whittington
Data & Technology
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Apple announced it will not lend funding to the GOP for the 2016 Republican National Convention. It will also pull other technical support, such as doling out complimentary MacBooks, crediting Donald Trump’s misogynistic and racist antics, sources told Politico.

In 2008, Apple gave $140,000 in MacBooks and other tech tools to both the Democratic and Republican conventions, according to campaign finance records. Although the tech giant did not donate money in 2012, it did hand out products to both sides.

Silicon Valley titans like Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Apple have traditionally pledged equal support to both major parties for their conventions, maintaining a nonpartisan stance despite most of the companies’ left-leaning ideals. And while Facebook, Google and Microsoft maintained their commitments to provide service for the GOP convention even with Trump at the forefront, Apple has taken a different approach.

Microsoft said it will provide technology and other services to the four-day event in Cleveland, Ohio, but will not give cash donations as it has for past conventions. While Satya Nadella’s Microsoft will not pull its tech support, it scaled back drastically from the $1.5 million in money and services it contributed to the RNC four years ago.

Microsoft joined the bandwagon a day after Google announced it will support the GOP convention by serving as the official live-stream provider. The world’s largest search engine will offer election trends, convention videos and virtual reality tools, among other services, Politico reports.

Facebook, despite CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s outspoken opposition of Trump’s stance on immigration, will provide “financial and other support” to both the Republican and Democratic conventions, the Guardian reports. The company made it clear that its sponsorship for the Republican Party should not be seen as a presidential endorsement.

Apple higher-ups thought its best course of action would be to avoid the convention altogether. It’s unclear how Apple plans to support the Democratic convention. But after Trump called for an Apple boycott, the company's decision to not pledge money or services should come as no surprise.

Trump’s targeted comments toward the tech company and its CEO, Tim Cook, came following Apple’s controversial refusal to crack an iPhone linked to December’s San Bernardino attacks, which saw 14 people killed and another 22 injured.

“Opposing this order is not something we take lightly," Cook told the Washington Post in February. "We feel we must speak up in the face of what we see as an overreach by the U.S. government.”

Trump, who has yet to choose a running mate, fired back at Apple for protecting their iPhone security technology and not releasing it to the FBI.

“The phone’s owned by the government, okay, it’s not even [the San Bernardino shooter’s] phone,” Trump told CNN. “But Tim Cook is looking to do a big number, probably to show how liberal he is. But Apple should give up; they should get the security or find other people.”

Along with providing his perspective on Apple’s refusal to unlock the phone, Trump passionately called for a boycott both on Twitter and in a town-hall style event in South Carolina following Apple’s resistance.

That wasn’t the first time Trump called on people to boycott a Fortune 500 company. Macy’s dropped Trump’s clothing line in November following his malicious campaign kick-off speech, in which he called Mexicans “rapists.” He fired back saying Macy’s was disloyal because of his strong stance on illegal immigration.

Even though Apple severed ties with the Republican national convention this go-around, Cook isn’t entirely burning bridges with the GOP. The Apple executive plans to host a fundraiser for Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Politico reports. Ryan has pledged his support for Trump.

Apple’s announcement comes as great news to activists from ColorofChange.org, who are adamantly pushing tech companies and other donors to shy away from donating to the Republican convention. The progressive, civil-rights advocacy organization has already convinced powerhouses like HP to steer clear of the convention.

Other supporters also said they would significantly decrease their contributions to the convention. Coca-Cola announced it would cut donations to only $75,000 this election cycle despite giving $660,000 to the convention that selected Mitt Romney in 2012.

Wells Fargo, UPS, Motorola, JPMorgan Chase, Ford and Walgreens will also skip out on this year’s convention.

Image credit: Mike Deerkoski/Flickr

Grant Whittington headshotGrant Whittington

Based in Washington, DC, Grant works as a program assistant at SEEP Network, an international development nonprofit. A proud graduate of the University of Maryland, Grant spent four months post-grad living in Armenia where he worked for Habitat for Humanity and the World Food Programme. Grant is passionate about humanitarianism and finding sustainable approaches to international development. He enjoys playing trivia with friends but is still seeking his first victory - he ceaselessly blames his friends lack of preparation.

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