Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple, explained in a memo that he chose to meet with President-elect Donald Trump in order to insert his opinion on human rights, privacy, security, and the environment.
Cook accepted an invitation to a roundtable with Trump and other technology leaders including Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Alphabet CEO Larry Page, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. It was reported that Cook also met with Trump privately.
Critics speculated on whether some of these technology executives would show up, given their support for Democrat Hillary Clinton during the election. Cook said that regardless of political opinion, he found that it was important to come to the table in order to sway the president-elect’s opinions on certain issues.
“Personally, I’ve never found being on the sideline a successful place to be,” Cook said. “The way that you influence these issues is to be in the arena.”
Cook said that his goal was to expand the current definition of human rights to include human rights for everyone, emphasize the importance of combating climate change by showcasing the fact that Apple runs on 100 percent renewable energy, and focus on privacy, security, and education.
“We have other things that are more business-centric—like tax reform—and something we’ve long advocated for: a simple system,” Cook said. “And we’d like intellectual property reform to try to stop the people suing when they don’t do anything as a company.”
Cook said that showing up to Trump’s meeting was not an example of Apple backing down to pressure, but instead a way for it to stand up for what it believes in.
“We engage when we agree and we engage when we disagree,” Cook said. “I think it’s very important to do that because you don’t change things by just yelling. You change things by showing everyone why your way is the best.”