the national interest

Trump Denies Calling Tim Cook ‘Tim Apple.’ It Happened on TV.

President Trump conferring with Tim “Apple” Cook, CEO of Apple. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Last week, President Trump made a small, comic gaffe when he called Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, “Tim Apple.” Friday night, at a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago, Trump called the reports “fake news.” Jonathan Swan reports that Trump told the donors he actually said “Tim Cook, Apple,” very quickly, with the “Cook” part under his breath, so it sounded like “Tim Apple.”

That is not what happened. Here is the video:

“I just thought, why would you lie about that,” one of the donors told Swan. “It doesn’t even matter!”

Trump has consistently generated anxiety among the Republican elite through his habit of lying about absolutely everything, rather than just the things Republicans want him to he lie about (tax cuts don’t increase deficits, greenhouse gas emissions don’t warm the planet, repealing Obamacare won’t take away anybody’s coverage, etc.). Part of it has to do with the fact that Trump has far more things he actually needs to lie about due to his extreme shadiness. But another part is that Trump is simply a pathological liar, who tells weird and obviously made-up stories in his campaign speeches for no apparent reason.

You might think a Trump donor watching this could have some misgivings about handing money to help a pathological liar keep the most powerful job in the world — at a fundraiser held at Trump’s privately owned club, in order to guarantee that his campaign work lines his own pockets, no less. Instead the prevalent attitude is, It would be great if the president was not a pathological liar, but what are you gonna do?

Trump, almost certainly responding to cable news chyrons, is publicly floating a different explanation than the one he gave to his donors:

Right, “Tim Apple” was obviously a time saving device. What busy executive has the time to enunciate “Tim Cook, Apple,” when “Tim Apple” gets the point across just as well? That extra syllable wastes valuable fractions of a second that can never be recovered. Saving time and words is obviously a huge priority for Trump, as anybody familiar with his rhetoric well knows.

Trump Denies Saying ‘Tim Apple.’ It Happened on TV.