Tim Cook wants you to stop asking if he’s running for president

The greatest Silicon Valley-Washington flirtation in the past year has been whether Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is running for president.

But in some pockets of the internet, it’s Apple CEO Tim Cook who’s been generating the presidential buzz.

So one intrepid Iowan reporter decided to ask Cook, who was in Des Moines to unveil a data center in the town of Waukee, the million-dollar question: Is he gunning for the White House?

“You’ve got to be kidding,” said Cook to the Des Moines Register Thursday as he was visiting a local Apple store. “That must be a comedian or something.”

The comedians are actually bloggers who strung the rumor together over the past few months. Gizmodo kicked off the Tim Cook for president rumor with a June 15 blog post titled “So Uh, Is Tim Cook Running for President, Too?”, where the author breaks down Cook’s exclusive Bloomberg Businessweek interview, which had nuggets of presidential gravitas.

After Cook’s Iowa tour on Thursday, a news blog called Need to Know Network (which reportedly is run by former Republican operatives) published a speculative piece called “Is Tim Cook Running For President?”

When the reporter followed up, Cook insisted he had no interest in politics.

“I’ve got a full-time job. And I love Apple deeply,” said Cook. “So no, there’s no connection there at all.”

Cook had a packed schedule on Thursday that may resemble a politician’s campaign tour. In the morning, Cook was in Cincinnati, meeting works in a local Apple supplier.

By noon, he was in Des Moines, speaking alongside Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Mayor of Waukee Mayor Bill Peard to unveil Apple’s newest data center, set to cost $1.3 billion and create 550 new jobs.

After the press conference, he was in Waukee and at the nearest Apple Store in Jordan Creek Town Center.

In his sixth year as Apple CEO, Cook has had many run-ins with politics, thanks in part to President Donald Trump, who has publicly pressured the company to bring jobs to the United States. Also, Cook spoke out against the White House when Trump took the United States out of the Paris Agreement in June, and after Trump’s “many sides” comments after a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville earlier this month.

After Charlottesville, Cook announced he will donate $1 million each to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.

“I disagree with the president and others who believe that there is a moral equivalence between white supremacists and Nazis, and those who oppose them by standing up for human rights,” Cook wrote in a leaked memo to Apple employees after Charlottesville. “Equating the two runs counter to our ideals as Americans.”

 

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