Donald Trump says he called Apple's Tim Cook to thank him for investments

Apple chief Tim Cook won praise after announcing hundreds of billions of dollars in US investments. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - President Donald Trump said on Thursday (Jan 18) that he called Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook to thank him for announcing hundreds of billions of dollars in US investments following passage of Republican tax legislation last year.

Apple said on Wednesday it would return hundreds of billions of dollars to the US from overseas, pay a US$38 billion (S$50 billion) tax bill on that money and invest about US$350 billion in its domestic operations over the next five years.

The company plans capital expenditures of about US$30 billion and will create about 20,000 new jobs at existing sites and a new campus.

"When I heard the news yesterday - and Tim Cook is a great guy, the head of Apple - when I heard the news, I heard US$350 billion and I said, 'you mean US$350 million, that is going to be a beautiful plant,' and they said 'no,' they said 'it is US$350 billion,"' Trump said in a speech at a factory in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, a Pittsburgh suburb.

"I just called Tim Cook and thanked him, but I don't imagine there has ever been an investment that big in our country by a company."

Apple shares were mostly unchanged on Thursday after closing Wednesday at a record high, US$179.10.

Cook and Trump have not been close.

While the Apple chief has spread his political donations across both major US parties, according to Federal Election Commission, he held a fund-raiser in 2016 for Hilary Clinton and last year pledged US$2 million to anti-hate groups after a deadly rally by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In an e-mail to Apple staff, Cook criticised President Trump for blaming "both sides" for violence at the rally.

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