President Trump’s last financial disclosure form makes for interesting reading. In addition to listing his various property holdings and business interests, it also reveals a number of gifts received by business leaders, including a Mac Pro from Apple CEO Tim Cook.
In true Trumpian form, the disclosure [PDF] contained a pretty major porky, falsely describing the machine as the first built at Apple’s assembly plant in Austin, Texas.
In reality, Apple’s facility in the Lone Star State (which is operated by electronics manufacturing services outfit Flex) has assembled Mac Pro machines since 2013, starting with the ill-fated “trashcan” model. This fact eluded Trump on his 2019 visit, where he proudly “opened” a facility that had been in operation for almost six years prior, and wasn’t actually owned by Apple.
If we want to be even pickier, we could point out that Apple made the predecessor to the Mac Pro, the Power Mac G5, at its own production facility in Elk Grove, California.
Getting back to the financial disclosure form: Trump appraised the value of the Mac Pro as $5,999, suggesting it’s the entry-level model. This comes with an 8-core Intel Xeon W processor, 32GB RAM, a Radeon Pro 580X GPU with 8GB of GDDR5 memory, and 256GB storage.
With $191.83bn cash on hand, per its last financials, Apple could have easily afforded to kit Trump out with a faster processor, more RAM, or a better GPU. At the very least, they could have thrown in a monitor (the Mac Pro comes with a keyboard, as well as the choice between a trackpad or magic mouse, but that’s it). Or maybe the caster-mounted wheels, which retail at a perfectly reasonable $699.
The company’s thriftiness is also surprising considering the well-documented bromance between Trump and Tim Apple. The pair were reportedly in regular contact, meeting for dinners and exchanging direct calls. In a 2018 briefing with the press, Trump effused about his relationship with Cook, describing him as a “great executive”.
“That’s why he’s a great executive because he calls me, and others don’t. Others go out and hire very expensive consultants, and Tim Cook calls Donald Trump directly,” he said.
Then again, perhaps a more potent machine would be wasted on Trump. Despite his very public predilection for social media, the ex-president was paradoxically known for being something of a luddite who seldom used a computer.
According to a Politico profile published in late 2016, Trump would instruct aides to print out emails, rather than read them on screen. Replies would be written on paper, often directly onto the printout using Trump’s preferred Sharpie pen.
Roger Stone, his one-time campaign advisor, described him as “old school” in that piece, saying: “Until a couple years ago, there were no computer terminals on some of the desks at the Trump Organization. He doesn’t browse the Web. Until about four years ago, he was still using bicycle messengers. They were very popular in Manhattan in the 1980s.”
The fate of Trump’s gifted Mac Pro isn’t known. One possibility is that it may appear in his presidential library, along with other documents from his time as the world’s most powerful person. Trump reportedly plans to build a $2bn facility in Florida, although it’s unclear when it’ll open or how it will be funded.
Across the pond, gifts are much less lavish. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has disclosed just 11 gifts in the period between April and June 2020. These include baby products from Fortnum & Mason, wine from the Hungarian government, and caviar from the London Fine Foods Group. These were held by the Cabinet Office as they surpassed the £140 threshold outlined in the Ministerial Code [PDF]. ®
source: The Register