Tim Cook has responded to president Donald Trump’s comments in a letter revealed Thursday, in which the Apple CEO said that equating white supremacists and their opponents “runs counter to our ideals as Americans.”
Following a clash between protest groups in Charlottesville last week where a counter-protester was killed by a terrorist, Trump denounced violence on “many sides” in a widely-criticized set of remarks made Saturday. The president followed this up with a speech on Monday where he denounced neo-Nazis specifically and described racism as “evil,” but he reverted to blaming all sides in an infrastructure press conference on Tuesday.
In the letter to employees, Cook pledged to support the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League, with the company making a $1 million donation to each. On top of that, Apple will match its employees donations to these organizations two-for-one, until September 30.
Until Wednesday, Cook was a member of the American Manufacturing Council, a board comprised of CEOs in several industries aimed at advising the president on manufacturing issues. Following a string of high-profile resignations from the board after the Charlottesville comments, Trump disbanded the board and the Strategy & Policy Forum, citing “pressure on the businesspeople” as the reason for their termination.
The letter, circulated among Apple employees and obtained by BuzzFeed, is below:
Like so many of you, equality is at the core of my beliefs and values. The events of the past several days have been deeply troubling for me, and I’ve heard from many people at Apple who are saddened, outraged or confused.
What occurred in Charlottesville has no place in our country. Hate is a cancer, and left unchecked it destroys everything in its path. Its scars last generations. History has taught us this time and time again, both in the United States and countries around the world.
We must not witness or permit such hate and bigotry in our country, and we must be unequivocal about it. This is not about the left or the right, conservative or liberal. It is about human decency and morality. 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. Equating the two runs counter to our ideals as Americans.
Regardless of your political views, we must all stand together on this one point — that we are all equal. As a company, through our actions, our products and our voice, we will always work to ensure that everyone is treated equally and with respect.
I believe Apple has led by example, and we’re going to keep doing that. We have always welcomed people from every walk of life to our stores around the world and showed them that Apple is inclusive of everyone. We empower people to share their views and express themselves through our products.
In the wake of the tragic and repulsive events in Charlottesville, we are stepping up to help organizations who work to rid our country of hate. Apple will be making contributions of $1 million each to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. We will also match two-for-one our employees’ donations to these and several other human rights groups, between now and September 30.
In the coming days, iTunes will offer users an easy way to join us in directly supporting the work of the SPLC.
Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” So, we will continue to speak up. These have been dark days, but I remain as optimistic as ever that the future is bright. Apple can and will play an important role in bringing about positive change.