Apple CEO Tim Cook’s trip to Washington is the first test of tech-hostile House GOP

Apple CEO Tim Cook is the first major tech leader to take the temperature of the incoming tech-hostile GOP House, meeting with several Republican leaders in Washington this week.

The quiet meetings will provide the first indication of how lawmakers plan to handle tech giants. At center stage is Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who will chair the House Judiciary Committee and could oversee critical antitrust debates regarding Apple’s App Store and Amazon, among other things.

Cook’s aim to establish a relationship was only complicated after Twitter CEO Elon Musk claimed Apple was threatening to remove the platform from the App Store earlier this week, precisely the sort of action Republicans and many Democrats would pounce on.

Musk confirmed in a Tweet Wednesday night that things had been smoothed over, however, sharing a video from inside Apple’s California headquarters.

“Thanks Tim Cook for taking me around Apple’s beautiful HQ,” he wrote. “Good conversation. Among other things, we resolved the misunderstanding about Twitter potentially being removed from the App Store. Tim was clear that Apple never considered doing so.”


Tim Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at Anti-Defamation League’s “Never is Now” summit in New York City, New York, U.S., December 3, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid / Reuters Photos)

The news was a dodged bullet for Cook, and Jordan agreed in a Wednesday night appearance on with Fox News with Sean Hannity that it was “good news” that Twitter would remain on the marketplace.

Cook would have no doubt faced a grilling on the issue in his meeting with Jordan this week, as the Judiciary Committee has played an extensive role in antitrust issues relating to the App Store, and Jordan is among the most vocal lawmakers in the country when it comes to Big Tech bias against conservatives.


Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., in line to chair the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is also scheduled to meet with Cook. Her committee also plays a major role in tech oversight.

Other Republicans were already champing at the bit to go after Cook and Apple earlier this week, prior to Musk’s announcement that they had made peace.

“This is why we need to end the App Store duopoly before the end of this year,” wrote Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo. “No one should have this kind of market power.”

Jim Jordan Ohio Congressman

Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) speaks during the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee hearing on “Online Platforms and Market Power” in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washingto (Graeme Jennings/Pool via REUTERS / Reuters Photos)

Even Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis urged Congress to take action against Apple earlier this week if it did remove Twitter from the App Store.

Cook is no stranger to being the first tech leader to step into the breach of GOP criticism, however. He made a similar move in 2016 when former President Donald Trump raged against Apple for shipping its manufacturing overseas.


Cook flew to Washington to meet directly with Trump to make peace and kept the relationship going throughout Trump’s presidency.

“That’s why he’s a great executive,” Trump would later say of Cook in 2019. “Because he calls me and others don’t.”

Mark Zuckerberg with new meta logo

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Tuesday that he is accountable as the company prepares to layoff employees. (Getty Images  |  istock / Getty Images)

But it’s unclear whether Cook’s charm will be enough to win over Republicans in the House, and antitrust issues are only one facet of the GOP’s hostility toward his industry. The party has also for years been focused on censorship and bias against conservative viewpoints.

Jordan and 34 of his fellow House Republicans sent a letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg warning him of impending inquiries into how Facebook handled information that would have damaged President Biden’s 2020 campaign, most notably Hunter Biden’s laptop.


The letter was a shot across the bow for Meta, an indication that it should expect more than letters once Jordan and other GOP leaders gain their chairmanships–and the subpoena powers that come with them–in January.

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