Now that the 2016 presidential race has come to a close, investors are wondering what a Trump Administration would mean for their investments. One company that should worry is Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), especially since Apple stock (AAPL) came under fire during the campaign.
Time and time again, President-elect Donald Trump would cite Apple as a symbol of corporate abuse in America. He would point out its scuffles with tax authorities in Europe or it outsourcing to China as examples of how the rules are rigged against American workers.
He even called for a boycott on “iPhones” after Apple refused the FBI’s request to unlock an iPhone used by the San Bernardino terrorists. (Source: “Donald Trump Owns Apple Stock, Despite Calls for iPhone Boycott,” Fortune, May 20, 2016.)
“I use both iPhone and Samsung,” Trump tweeted in February. “If Apple doesn’t give info to authorities on the terrorists I’ll only be using Samsung until they give info.”
He continued to bash the company while on Fox and Friends, saying: “To think that Apple won’t allow us to get into her cellphone? Who do they think they are?” (Source: “Donald Trump on Apple encryption battle,” The Verge, February 17, 2016.)
Apple CEO Tim Cook fired back at Trump, arguing that Apple would gladly help unlock if the phone if it could do so without jeopardizing the security of millions of other iPhones. But Apple couldn’t manage that kind of surgical extraction, so it refused.
“We have worked hard to support the government’s efforts to solve this horrible crime,” said Tim Cook. “We have no sympathy for terrorists…[but we] fear that this demand would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect.”
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Nonetheless, the Trump campaign was driven by ground-level populism, so Trump eventually played to blue-collar economic issues. He pointed out that Apple famously stashes more than $215.0 billion in Irish bank accounts to take advantage of special tax breaks.
European tax authorities have started to crack down on those practices, even going so far as to extract a $14.0 billion fine from Apple stock. Meanwhile, the majority of iPhones are made in China, something that Trump has said he will change once he takes office.
“We’re going to get Apple to start building their damn computers and things in this country instead of in other countries,” said the presidential-elect.