By TONY ROMM
Apple has told Republican leaders it will not provide funding or other support for the party’s 2016 presidential convention, as it’s done in the past, citing Donald Trump’s controversial comments about women, immigrants and minorities.
Unlike Facebook, Google and Microsoft, which have all said they will provide some support to the GOP event in Cleveland next month, Apple decided against donating technology or cash to the effort, according to two sources familiar with the iPhone maker’s plans.
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Apple’s political stand against Trump, communicated privately to Republicans, is a sign of the widening schism between Silicon Valley and the GOP’s bombastic presumptive nominee. Trump has trained his rhetorical fire on the entire tech industry, but he’s singled out Apple for particular criticism — calling for a boycott of the company’s products, and slamming CEO Tim Cook, over Apple’s stance on encryption.
Asked about Apple’s absence, a spokeswoman for the GOP’s convention host committee replied: “We are working with a variety of major tech partners who are focused on being part of the American political process.”
Apple declined to comment for this story. It’s unclear how the company plans to handle the Democratic convention in Philadelphia this summer. A spokeswoman for the Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
While Apple isn’t the most active political player in the nation’s capital, the tech giant previously has backed both parties’ conventions. It provided about $140,000 in MacBooks and other tech tools to the Democratic and Republican events in 2008, according to campaign finance records. Apple sat out the nominating conventions in 2012, the year Democrats opted against accepting corporate contributions.
Typically, the tech industry tries to court Democrats and Republicans in equal measure. Despite the liberal leanings of Silicon Valley’s top executives, companies like Google and Facebook long have split their election-year donations among both parties’ officeholders. While Apple does not have a political action committee, Cook on his own has tried to forge personal relationships with Democratic and GOP lawmakers. He even dined in D.C. last year, for example, with a quartet of top House Republicans.