Donald Trump’s stump speech offers no surprises to his supporters or watchers. It’s a stump speech- it’s basically the same repetitive cues again and again- that said, a strange assertion by Trump has recently surfaced and been vehemently refuted, as tends to happen once a week or so.
“We’re going to get Apple to built their damn computers and things in this country instead of in other countries,” he asserted in January in Liberty University. “Apple and all of these great companies will be making their products in the United States, not in China, Vietnam,” he continued in Mar-a-Lago earlier this month.
Similar to many of his other previous promises, this particular initiative of Trump’s offers some glaring issues, even if you look past the fact that Trump’s own companies manufacture thousands of items overseas.
The larger issue is this: To force Apple to make iPhones in the US would be as logistically impossible and economically disastrous for the company. Apple may make a point of being pro-human rights in America (just look into its recent political activism in North Carolina regarding the “religious freedom” laws being proposed in the state, but it simply cannot offer human rights to the workers responsible for the base functioning of its company. For example, the workers who mine cobalt in Borneo of the people actually responsible for the manufacturing of the phones, who are allegedly child workers.
Even the idea the Trump might have the potential to force Apple to move its manufacturing headquarters to the US is overreaching his actual power. After all, no president has the executive power to force an industry to follow his or her will to that extent. Trump could potentially attempt to force some tariffs through Congress with the intent to make it incredibly expensive for Apple to import electronics built overseas, but that entire potential would also assume that not only Trump becomes president, but that the political landscape had changed even more than would be assumed given Trump’s own ascent to power.
Even in those circumstances, the idea that a tech giant like Apple, which just finished up taking on the FBI head on regarding being forced to create encryption software for the sake of hacking into terrorists’ iPhones, would succumb to Trump’s will is another major assumption in an unlikely political landscape. Apple has the best of the best lawyers and has created a power for itself that rivals the US government in its ability to reach and hire major resources. This power translates to a significantly competitive nature that surfaces when the tech giant is called out to compete.
And the United States economy actively thrives off of this economic success. To devastate Apple would be to devastate that much of the U.S. economy, a move that would never be considered by a decent U.S. president.
Jason Dedrick, a professor at Syracuse University, laid out exactly how Apple would nose dive with Trump’s proposal. According to him, the manufacturing equipment itself costs billions of dollars, and the expertise to run it pretty much only exists in those locations.