WISHFUL THINKING

Donald Trump wants Apple to make “damn computers and things” in the US

Donald Trump wants to make Apple build iPhones in the US.
Donald Trump wants to make Apple build iPhones in the US.
Image: REUTERS/Randall Hill
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Trump has a new plan to boost America’s economy: make Apple manufacture its products in the US, instead of China.

At a speech at Liberty University yesterday (Jan. 18), Trump spoke about outsourcing and bringing jobs back to America.

“We have such amazing people in this country: smart, sharp, energetic, they’re amazing,” Trump said. “We’re gonna get Apple to start building their damn computers and things in this country, instead of in other countries.”

Aside from a few products like the Mac Pro, which is made in Texas, Apple manufactures most of its products in China. But it’s nonsensical for Trump to claim he has any power to upend Apple’s international supply chain. As Fortune noted, Steve Jobs explained why in a conversation with Barack Obama in 2011: “Those jobs aren’t coming back,” Jobs said, because China now has the world’s most sophisticated manufacturing infrastructure.

Manufacturing simply isn’t that important to today’s US economy:

Trump has been touting the idea of a punitive tariff on Chinese exports, which would presumably include products like the iPhone that are assembled for US companies. But as Quartz reported last week, those tariffs would hurt lower- and middle-class Americans the most, by jacking up the price of cheap consumer goods, without moving any manufacturing jobs back to the United States.

Quartz has reached out to Apple and will update this post if it responds.