President Donald Trump traveled to Austin, Texas, on Wednesday to visit an Apple computer manufacturing plant.
After touring the facility with Apple CEO Tim Cook, Trump pointed out the benefits of manufacturing in the United States.
“When you build in the United States, you don’t have to worry about tariffs,” Trump said. “It sort of helps people make a decision to come in.”
Apple announced in September their plans to manufacture the newly redesigned Mac Pro in Texas after initially planning in July to shift the production of their newest high-end computers to China. After President Trump threatened tariffs on the computers made in China, Apple decided to have the computer built in Texas. The Mac Pro will be assembled by Flex — a manufacturing company in Austin, Texas.
During the visit, Trump praised Apple for becoming the first trillion-dollar company in the United States, calling Cook “a very special person” in the country.
Apple broke ground on its $1 billion campus in Austin on Wednesday. The new building will add about 5,000 employees in 2022, with expansion capacity for 15,000.
Cook thanked President Trump and Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Ivanka Trump for visiting the facility and praised the new Mac Pro computer that would be manufactured in the United States.
Cook said the Mac Pro computer was 15,000 times more powerful than the original Mac, performing 56 trillion tasks per second.
“We could not be more proud of the product. It’s an example of American design and American manufacturing and American ingenuity,” he said.
The Mac Pro computer represents only a small portion of Apple’s business, while the iPhone continues to be manufactured in China.
Trump hinted that he would consider a tariff exemption for Apple’s manufacturing in China.
“We’ll look into that,” Trump said when asked about a tariff exemption for Apple. “We have to treat Apple on a somewhat similar basis as we treat Samsung.”
When Trump asked Cook about the economy, the Apple CEO replied, “I think we have the strongest economy.”
Cook continues to court Trump, participating in White House events having to do with economic development and tech education. Cook also serves as an adviser on the Trump administration’s workforce development initiative.
Trump’s visit to the facility drew both supporters of the president and protesters.
Local police estimated about 200 Trump supporters and about 150 anti-Trump protesters present during the president’s visit.