In a freewheeling speech to Republican donors at his Mar-a-Lago Club on Friday night, President Donald Trump reportedly told the room that he had not in fact called Apple CEO Tim Cook “Tim Apple” — despite video evidence proving otherwise.
Listen closely, the president claimed, according to the political news website Axios.
“Trump told the donors that he actually said ‘Tim Cook Apple’ really fast, and the ‘Cook’ part of the sentence was soft,” Axios reported Sunday. “But all you heard from the ‘fake news,’ he said, was ‘Tim Apple.’ ”
Trump defended himself on Twitter Monday, but he offered a different explanation in public than he did to donors, per Axios.
“At a recent round table meeting of business executives, & long after formally introducing Tim Cook of Apple, I quickly referred to Tim + Apple as Tim/Apple as an easy way to save time & words,” he wrote. “The Fake News was disparagingly all over this, & it became yet another bad Trump story!”
Dismissing purportedly inaccurate coverage of unfavorable moments in his presidency has long been a favorite strategy of Trump’s. But review the video footage again (such as the clip above).
Seated between the Apple executive and daughter Ivanka Trump, a senior aide, the president told Cook on Wednesday: “I mean you’ve really put a big investment in our country. We appreciate it very much, Tim Apple.” He did not pause between “Tim” and “Apple,” instead saying it like a full name.
As noted by the Huffington Post, the official government transcript from the remarks, made during a White House meeting for the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, also shows the president said “Tim Apple.”
However, the transcript recorded it with a dash between the words, as though to imply he might have been referring to two separate things — thanking Cook and then separately thanking the technology company. This echoes what Trump wrote on Twitter.
Ivanka, who was next to him during the surname snafu, soon laughed it off.
She tweeted a string of crying-laughing emoji in response to a Daily Show video rounding up previous times the president has called someone the wrong name.
“Can’t wait for the meeting with ‘Bill Microsoft’ and ‘Jeff Amazon,’ ” another Twitter user joked, referencing tech titans Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, while another wrote, referencing Mark Zuckerberg, “He’s meeting Mark Facebook tomorrow.”
Cook himself took it all in stride: He has since changed his last name on Twitter to his company’s logo — aka, “Tim Apple.”
The minor mix-up wasn’t all the president covered in his donor speech in Florida, according to Axios, citing unnamed guests.
Sources told the site that in addition to hitting familiar talking points about the Democratic party and his challengers in 2020, the president’s speech included a “bizarre tangent” about his holidays in Washington, D.C., during last the government shutdown.
The president described seeing Secret Service agents around the property, “in trees, on the lawn,” wearing night vision goggles.
“They’re in blackface,” he joked, these sources said.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment on Axios’ reporting.