Apple CEO Tim Cook has joined the ranks of tech CEOs considering legal action over Donald Trump’s immigration ban, potentially putting at risk any recent progress he’s made with the president over local manufacturing requirements and regulatory relief.
Apple is the fourth big company to consider the legal route after Microsoft, Amazon and Expedia said they would lend their support to Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s suit against the ban.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Cook didn’t specify what form Apple’s legal action might take, only saying “we want to be constructive and productive.”
Whatever the approach, his pronouncement increasingly shows that leading CEOs—who appeared to extend an olive branch to the president during his first days in office—won’t be taking all of his policy moves lying down. Trump’s response to any legal challenges may have repercussions for other CEOs with offshore operations concerned that, if angered, he’ll make it tougher for them to manufacture products abroad.
Cook said that he continues to contact “very, very senior people in the White House” to press the case for repealing the executive order preventing people from seven Muslim countries from entering the U.S., the Journal reported.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, meanwhile, told staff this week that the company was “working other legal options as well,” in addition to preparing a declaration of support for Ferguson.
Apple had just beat market expectations with a $17.89 billion first-quarter profit. On a conference call with analysts, Cook said he remained confident that Congress would soon pass tax reform that could allow the company to repatriate billions of dollars of income held overseas.
“I am optimistic on what I’m hearing for some tax reform this year,” Cook said. “It seems there are people in both parties that would favor repatriation as part of that.”
Trump has made slashing the corporate tax rate a key plank of his policy agenda. But his threats to slap high tariffs on imports already have been followed with a decision by at least one Apple component supplier to pledge a greater investment in U.S. factories—and a warning of a potential spike in iPhone prices.
Apple is among a host of companies, some outside the tech sector, to criticize the travel ban, including Coca-Cola, Facebook, Ford, Goldman Sachs, Google, GE and Nike.