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Apple spends less on lobbying, but Tim Cook has close ties with Trump

Donald Trump Tim CookApple CEO Tim Cook and President Donald TrumpAP

Even though Apple has spent less on lobbying than other tech giants, CEO Tim Cook has forged close ties with President Donald Trump, the Wall Street JournalTripp Mickle reports.

Since 2017, Apple has spent nearly $ 18 million on lobbying, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In comparison, Microsoft spent $ 24 million, Facebook spent $ 32 million, Amazon spent $ 36 million, and Alphabet spent $ 47 million.

Still, Cook attends dinners and meetings with Donald Trump, has close ties to Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump, and regularly meets with Trump administration officials like economic adviser Larry Kudlow, people close to Apple and the Trump administration told the Journal.

For example, in August, Cook reached out to Kushner to explain how upcoming tariffs would boost iPhone prices and hurt its competition with other phone companies like Samsung. Within days, the Trump administration exempted iPhones, along with other electronics products, from the tariff plan.

A person close to the administration told the Journal that Cook's call with Kushner influenced this decision.

Similarly, Trump refers to Cook as a friend, praising Apple and Cook's business abilities, and even called Cook to wish him a Happy Thanksgiving. Journal.

Still, Cook disagrees with Trump on various issues, such as immigration and climate change, and 97% of Apple employee donations in the 2018 midterm elections went to Democratic candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Often, Cook or a member of Apple's public affairs team will alert the White House through Kushner or another senior White House official before publicly challenging Trump's policies, former administration officials said. Journal.

Read more: We checked out the neighborhood where Apple is building a new Seattle campus, just blocks away from Amazon HQ

For example, Cook communicated with Trump over his plan to leave Paris Climate Accord after Ivanka Trump called on Cook for help, current and former administration officials told Journal. Trump didn't change his mind, but Cook later wrote an email to employees criticizing Trump's decision.

Cook's close ties to the administration may explain it's relatively low lobbying costs.

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