(Bloomberg) — Apple Inc. chief executive officer Tim Cook is in Washington to meet with senior Republican lawmakers as the company seeks to stay ahead of its early acquisition, according to people familiar with his visit House of Representatives through the party to forge ties to the GOP next year.
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Cook has scheduled meetings with Republican Representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio, Darrell Issa of California and Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, according to two of those familiar with the meetings, who asked not to be identified to discuss private travel plans. Jordan and McMorris Rodgers are likely to chair the top committees that oversee the tech industry when the GOP retakes the House next year.
The meetings were likely scheduled weeks ago, well before the anti-company smear launched by Twitter Inc. CEO Elon Musk. Still, Apple is facing mounting heat from conservatives. Some Republicans are rallying behind Musk, who attacked Apple and Cook in a series of tweets Monday, claiming the company threatened to remove Twitter from Apple’s app stores and stop advertising on the Twitter platform.
Musk claimed Apple is angering Twitter over Musk’s “free speech” approach to running Twitter, which he bought for $44 billion earlier this year. Critics have said Musk’s plan to limit the rules for speaking on Twitter is leading to a rise in abuse, harassment and threats on the platform.
Jordan, in particular, has publicly allied himself with Musk and has regularly posted messages of support for Musk, who is also the CEO of Tesla Inc.
Apple and the lawmakers’ offices that Cook is scheduled to meet with did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Jordan is likely to chair the House Judiciary Committee when the GOP takes control of the House, while McMorris Rodgers will chair the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The two are responsible for shaping the GOP’s technology policy agenda next year.
Cook, who has been making the rounds in Washington for months, is also scheduled to meet with Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas, as well as Democratic Senators Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Brian Schatz of Hawaii.
Cornyn, one of the loudest China hawks in the Senate, has publicly criticized Apple’s ties to Beijing. Cornyn was one of several lawmakers who sent out a letter earlier this year questioning Apple’s plans to use memory chips from a Chinese chipmaker.
Cook’s meetings are a continuation of Apple’s broader reach in Washington, as the iPhone maker has come under increasing scrutiny from policymakers over its tight control of the App Store and extensive ties to China.
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