Donald Trump has a long list of things he promises to do in order to “Make America Great Again,” and in a speech Monday at Liberty University, the Republican presidential candidate singled out Apple and its overseas manufacturing.
“We have such amazing people in this country: smart, sharp, energetic, they’re amazing,” Trump said. “I was saying make America great again, and I actually think we can say now, and I really believe this, we’re gonna get things coming … we’re gonna get Apple to start building their damn computers and things in this country, instead of in other countries.”
Targeting Apple and lost American jobs may have proven to be a good applause line for Trump, but as pointed out by sites such as Gizmodo and Re/code, what he’s promising is “unanchored to reality” and “betrayed a deep ignorance of how the tech economy actually works.”
With the exception of the Mac Pro, which is manufactured in Austin, Texas, Apple’s supply chain and product assembly is rooted in Asia, with iPhone production tied to China’s massive factory complex Foxconn.
As Gizmodo points out, the president has no power to “ban a company from outsourcing.” Kate Knibbs writes: “Trump could advocate for legislation designed to prevent outsourcing, perhaps through penalizing taxes on offshore manufacturing. But he would have to champion laws that would fundamentally alter free trade to make it financially advantageous for Apple to upend its manufacturing and supply chain.”
And Arik Hesseldahl at Re/code argues that the United States wouldn’t want these jobs back. “Final assembly jobs are low-skilled, low-paying occupations; no American would wish to support a family on what the jobs would pay. Workers at China’s Foxconn … make about $402 per month after three months of on-the-job probation. Even at the lowest minimum wage in the U.S. — $5.15 an hour in Wyoming — American workers can’t beat that.”
With his sound bite out in the world and the media scrambling to make sense of his promise, Trump had already moved on by Tuesday. He was tweeting about poll numbers and endorsements.