Social parasite Donald Trump has seized the opportunity to suck publicity out of Apple’s fight with the FBI. In a rally last month, an idea supposedly “just came to [him]”: “What I think you ought to do is boycott Apple until such time as they give that security number.”
Boycott all Apple products until such time as Apple gives cellphone info to authorities regarding radical Islamic terrorist couple from Cal— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 19, 2016
The statement cast Trump in exactly the role he wanted — as a hard-hitting patriot defending the “silent majority.” It also put him where he wanted to be — right in the spotlight.
The interviewer asked, “When Donald Trump calls for a boycott of Apple products, do you think that’s because he doesn’t understand the arguments that you’re making?” Cook replied,
“I haven’t talked to him so I don’t know what he thinks. The way I look at it is, Apple is this great American company that could have only happened here. And we see it as our responsibility to stand up on something like this and speak up for all these people that are thinking what we’re thinking but don’t have the voice.
[...] Too many times in history has this happened, where the government over reached, did something that in retrospect somebody should have stood up and said ‘Stop.’ We see that this is our moment to stand up and say ‘Stop.’ And force a dialogue."
Cook’s answer is subtly brilliant. First, he denies Trump’s importance by dismissing him in a single sentence: “I haven’t talked to him so I don’t know what he thinks.” This apparent non-answer may be the best response he could have given. How do you shut down an egomaniacal bully? Ignore him. Deny him the attention he’s seeking.
Cook goes on to undermine Trump’s attack without even mentioning him.
Calling Apple a “great American company,” suggests that they, not Trump, are the real patriots here. Cook also invites a comparison between one of the most successful companies ever and Trump’s string of failed business endeavors. Apple, he says, “stand[s] up … and speak[s] up for all these people that are thinking what we’re thinking but don’t have the voice” — unlike Trump, who claims to champion the “silent majority” but actually supports abuses of power.
Regardless of whether or not we support Apple’s response to the FBI, we can all take a lesson from Cook on how to silence Trump. Trump’s offensiveness has been a key to his success. The more people shout back at him, the more his name is on the air. Nothing eviscerates a sensationalist, bombastic bully like denying him attention.
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