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Apple CEO Tim Cook, along with some of the world’s elite, has attended a secret forum on a private island to discuss how best to stop presidential hopeful Donald Trump. You just couldn’t make this up.
The Huffington Post reports that Cook met at the American Enterprise Institute’s annual World Forum, on a luxurious resort island off the coast of Georgia. Among the guests were some of the founding giants of the tech world, Larry Page (Google), Elon Musk (Tesla, SpaceX) and Sean Parker (Napster), as well as a bevy of billionaires and – somewhat surprisingly – many senior members of the Republican party.
Though the casual, off-the-record event isn’t geared towards any particular topic, anonymous reports suggest that Donald Trump’s campaign was the main subject of discussion.
Cook’s part in all this is clear: Trump has sided with the FBI in Apple’s ongoing encryption debate, going as far as to suggest that Americans boycott the company until it complies with the government request. (He later tweeted from an iPhone.) It’s not clear exactly how Apple could help slow Trump’s rise – or if it should get involved at all – but obviously he stands for many things which the technology world in particular strongly opposes. A Trump presidency would be catastrophic for Apple’s pro-privacy ideals.
Meanwhile, Republican Senator Tom Cotton had a heated war of words with Cook regarding encryption, with anonymous onlookers saying “everyone was a little uncomfortable about how hostile Cotton was.” You can re-read Cook’s open letter on privacy for a reiteration of the stance he was defending.
It’s a little chilling to think that a small group of the rich and powerful could potentially have a serious effect on a democratic election process, but the fact that so many of America’s elite – GOP members included, don’t forget – are keen to discuss the options says a lot about the divisiveness of Trump as a candidate. As for the man himself, he’ll probably lap up the hate and spin it to his advantage somehow.