Apple CEO Tim Cook is hosting a fundraiser breakfast for House Speaker Paul Ryan, according to an invite obtained by Politico. The event will take place on June 28th in Menlo Park, CA, and Cook is said to be courting Ryan of his own volition because Apple does not operate a political action committee like other Silicon Valley giants. The goal is to strengthen corporate ties with prominent Republican leaders, even as Apple publicly distances itself from the GOP over the imminent party nomination of Donald Trump.
Under Cook's leadership, Apple has been far more outspoken on controversy topics ranging from gay marriage to environmental conservation. Cook himself has also embraced a more active political role, speaking more publicly about his personal experiences and donating to Democrats who share his views.
Apple pulled support for the GOP convention over Trump's presumptive nomination
Once it became clear Trump would become the Republican presidential candidate, Apple pulled support for the GOP convention taking place next month. The company has in the past donated MacBooks to both party conventions. BuzzFeed also chose to end a RNC ad deal, compared advertising for the Republican party to marketing cigarettes, while HP announced it would not donate to the event.
Apple's decision was only the latest conflict in an already-sour relationship between the company and Trump's campaign. Amid the legal battle with the FBI over unlocking the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, Trump called for a boycott on Apple's products. The conflict did not last long, but it put the presumptive Republican leader at odds with the iPhone maker. Given the contention, Apple appears interested in courting GOP figures who can aid in overcoming any hurdles in Congress. And Ryan, who seems torn between supporting Trump out of necessity and distancing himself from the candidate's more odious views and campaign promises, is a sensible target for the company's support.