(Bloomberg) – Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook is in Washington to meet with key Republican lawmakers, according to people familiar with his visit, as the company seeks to forge ties with the GOP ahead of the takeover anticipated from the House by the party. Next year.
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Cook has scheduled sessions with Republican Representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio, Darrell Issa of California and Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, according to two of the people familiar with the meetings, who asked not to be identified to discuss travel plans private. Jordan and McMorris Rodgers will likely chair key committees overseeing the tech industry when the GOP takes over the House next year.
The meetings were likely scheduled weeks ago, long before the rant against the company launched by Twitter Inc. CEO Elon Musk. Still, Apple is facing growing heat from conservatives. Some Republicans are rallying behind Musk, who on Monday attacked Apple and Cook in a series of tweets, saying the company threatened to remove Twitter from Apple’s app stores and suspended its advertising on the Twitter platform.
Musk claimed Apple was upsetting Twitter over Musk’s “free speech” approach to running Twitter, which he bought for $44 billion earlier this year. Critics said Musk’s plan to reduce speech rules on Twitter is leading to increased abuse, harassment and threats on the platform.
Jordan in particular has publicly aligned himself with Musk, periodically posting messages of support for Musk, who is also CEO of Tesla Inc.
Apple and the offices of lawmakers with whom Cook is to meet did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Jordan will likely chair the House Judiciary Committee when the GOP takes control of the House, while McMorris Rodgers is expected to lead the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The two are responsible for shaping the GOP’s technology policy agenda next year.
Cook, who has been touring Washington for months, is also scheduled to meet with Republican Senator from Texas John Cornyn, as well as Democratic Senators Martin Heinrich from New Mexico and Brian Schatz from Hawaii.
Cornyn, one of the most vocal China hawks in the Senate, has publicly criticized Apple’s ties to Beijing. Cornyn was one of several lawmakers to send a letter earlier this year questioning Apple’s plans to use memory chips from a Chinese chipmaker.
Cook’s meetings come on the heels of Apple’s broader outreach to Washington, as the iPhone maker has come under increasing scrutiny from policymakers over its tight control of the App Store and its… close ties with China.
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