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Venture Capitalist Vinod Khosla Again Tells Apple CEO Tim Cook to Keep Distance From Trump

Venture Capitalist Vinod Khosla Again Tells Apple CEO Tim Cook to Keep Distance From Trump

Staff Writer
  • In past tweets, the Indian American has called out Apple's chief executive for his closeness to the 45th President.

A few hours after the infamous Jan. 6 Capitol Hill attacks by right-wing mobs, billionaire tech investor Vinod Khosla sent out a Twitter message to Apple CEO Tim Cook. “We should all agree to not work with Trump and his supporters, even if that is expensive personally,” wrote Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm. He was responding to Cook’s tweet, saying “Today marks a sad and shameful chapter in our nation’s history. Those responsible for this insurrection should be held to account, and we must complete the transition to President-elect Biden’s administration. It’s especially when they are challenged that our ideals matter most.”

The Verge says that “Cook hasn’t been shy about meeting publicly with Trump.” In turn, the president has reciprocated, “mentioning Cook in dozens of public statements. Beyond public meetings, the two men appear to be in regular contact. “Tim Cook calls Donald Trump directly,” Trump told reporters on Aug, 21, 2019. “That’s why he’s a great executive because he calls me, and others don’t.” There was the time the Apple chief had dinner with the president at a golf club in New Jersey, for example, and another time when Cook and Trump spent the day touring a factory together in Austin, Texas.

This is not the first time that Khosla has called out Apple’s chief executive. In June, amid the ongoing protests over the death of George Floyd, Khosla chided Cook for not speaking up publicly about the company’s values amid the Black Lives Matters movement and protests. “It’s easy to support equality & justice for all decent folks,” Khosla tweeted. “It’s when one has to give up something to support it that belief in our real values show up. @tim_cook easy to talk, but why do you suck up to @realDonaldTrump?”

Although Cook sent an internal memo to staff, which Bloomberg published in full, Khosla was pushing the company to be more vocal about its values, urging the Apple CEO to speak out despite his relationship with Trump.

In June, amid the ongoing protests over the death of George Floyd, Khosla chided Cook for not speaking up publicly about the company’s values amid the Black Lives Matters movement and protests.

Khosla told Recode that Cook should be willing to support his values with “actions that might cost them something.” He said; “I think words on values are easy. If Tim Cook professes values he should be willing to support them with actions that might cost them something. That was my first thought on hearing about the employee memo, knowing Tim Cook cozied up to Trump to get tariff relief. I’d love for him to comment on Trump’s racist rants.”

Earlier in March 2016, Khosla sent a tweet indirectly referring to Apple and Cook, after a series of explosions struck Brussels, killing at least 30 people and wounding more than 230, Vanity Fair reported at the time. “Explosions at Brussels airport; Apple: national security is more important than privacy,” Khosla tweeted, adding a link to a Los Angeles Times story about the terrorist attacks. As per the Vanity Fair report, Khosla was referring to Apple’s “very public battle with the FBI over the past month.” In February 2016, a federal judge issued a court order to compel Apple to allow the FBI to access encrypted data on an iPhone 5C used by one of the shooters in the shootings at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, on Dec. 5, 2015. 

A Democrat, Khosla is known for backing some of tech’s biggest hits, including Square, Okta and DoorDash. Khosla is also the co-founder of Sun Microsystems. He spent 18 years at Kleiner Perkins before launching his own fund. Khosla recently made headlines for his ongoing efforts to keep a beach near his $37 million estate near Half Moon Bay in California.  

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Last October, Khosla made Recode’s list of the 15 tech moguls who have donated the most to efforts to defeat Trump and his allies. The publication said the venture capitalist has given $3.1 million to American Bridge, a Democratic super PAC (Political Action Committee) running anti-Trump ads.”

Business Insider reports that Khosla’s Jan. 6 tweet follows other prominent venture capitalist investors like Homebrew’s Hunter Walk “who are calling on each other to stop doing business deals with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law.” Taking a clue, others took to Twitter to post pictures of Cook with the President a well as post articles describing their friendship. 

In an Aug. 17, 2019 report, Business Insider’s Jake Kanter said that since Apple is dependent on Chinese manufacturing “to make its most lucrative products, including iPhones and iPads,” Cook met with Trump “at least five times in 2019 in a desperate bid to keep the U.S. President on his side during the U.S.-China trade war discussions.”

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