Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook on Tuesday had a lot to say about the company's solid second-quarter earnings, but he didn't quite know how to respond when he was asked about President Donald Trump's comments last week.
Cook and other Apple executives held a call with investors late Tuesday to go over the second-quarter earnings report. UBS analyst Steven Milunovich asked about Trump's remark that Cook had personally promised to build "three big, beautiful plants" in the U.S. Trump told the Wall Street Journal that he wouldn't consider his administration an "economic success" unless Cook committed to construct facilities on U.S. shores.
Milunovich asked Cook whether the factories might be a possibility "either directly or indirectly." The Apple chief initially responded to the question by focusing on Apple's job creation in the U.S.
"We have created 2 million jobs in the U.S. and we're incredibly proud of that," Cook said. "We do view that we have a responsibility in the U.S. to increase economic activity including increasing jobs. Because Apple could have only been created here."
Cook went on to explain the other strategies that Apple is deploying to foster job creation in the U.S., including its educational initiatives like teaching kids how to code, buying more goods and services from U.S.-based suppliers and noting that roughly two-thirds of its employees are based in the U.S.
So far, Apple has declined to provide a statement on Trump's comments to the Journal.
Cook's final comment seemed to refer to Apple's $1 billion investment in an advanced manufacturing fund in the U.S., which was announced in May. He said he believes there's more room for investment in manufacturing.
"We think there is more of these that we can do," Cook said. "I think there's probably several plants that can benefit from having some investment to grow or even may set up shop in the U.S. for the first time. So we're very excited about that."
The remarks come just a few days after iPhone maker Foxconn Technology Co. (FXCOF) said it would build a new $10 billion factory in southeastern Wisconsin. The 20 million square-foot facility will make flat-screen displays and is expected to employ up to 13,000 people.
Apple shares rose 0.6% to $156.49 early Friday afternoon.
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