What Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo) said about Apple’s empty chair (video)

From “Apple, TikTok draw congressional rebuke for sitting out of hearing on China” in Wednesday’s Washington Post:

Apple and TikTok took a lashing Tuesday for skipping a congressional hearing meant to explore the tech industry and its ties to China, an absence that threatens to bring sustained political scrutiny of the companies’ controversial relationships with Beijing.

Two empty chairs at a witness table served to illustrate the companies’ absence from the hearing, convened by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), a tech-industry critic who opened the session by blasting Apple and TikTok over “the danger of Chinese tech platforms’ entry into the U.S. market and the danger of American tech companies’ operations in China.”

Cue the video (2:30 min.):

My take:  Two of Apple’s strengths abroad—the Asian supply chain that Tim Cook built and the Chinese market he grew—also make Apple vulnerable to attacks back home.


  1. David Emery said:

    Isn’t it unusual for Apple to skip meetings/hearings like this?

    November 6, 2019
  2. Fred Stein said:

    He plays to ignorance and fear.

    Nothing will stop China. Citing one example: Huawei dropped Wear OS for their smart watch and now use their own OS. This took them from less 1/2 % to nearly 3% share in one year.

    China can, and will, develop any technology they need. Yes, they have stolen trade secrets and military secrets. They will likely continue this and other predatory practices. Yes their dictatorship oppresses minorities and dissidents.

    We, the west, embarked on the globalization path decades ago, which in many ways is colonialism 2.0.

    What to do? Trying to bully, threaten, impose sanctions, will all backfire. Tim Cook’s mantra applies, “It’s better to have a seat at the table than not.”

    November 6, 2019
    • Dan Scropos said:

      I agree with everything you said, but that still doesn’t explain why Apple skipped this event. The optics of this are terrible. I hope Tim Apple makes this right and does so quickly.

      Apple excels at dispelling rumors and clarifying misconceptions. Their strength has always been communication. This is a real head scratcher. I’m not sure what the thinking was behind this but, more so ,how they thought skipping the event would be better than attending.

      November 6, 2019
      • Gregg Thurman said:

        The optics of this are terrible.

        The “optics” of this is that virtually no one cares about Apple missing a meeting called by a grandstanding Senator from podunksville.

        November 6, 2019
  3. Gregg Thurman said:

    OT: Looks like AAPL is going to miss my projected peak of $260 before my expected selloff.

    Placed identical orders to buy NOV 15 $257.50/$260.00 Put Spreads at $1.65 in my ROTH and Corp accounts. AAPL must go back up to ~$256.25 to get filled.

    November 6, 2019
    • Gregg Thurman said:

      Both orders Filled.

      So far AAPL is down >$1.00 for the day, tracking in lockstep with the 9 years Historic Trend.

      November 6, 2019
  4. Jerry W Doyle said:

    The good senator Josh Hawley gave a significant, strong and intelligible commentary in his Congressional rebuke of Apple for secreting itself from the Committee’s questioning of Tim Cook.

    Hawley’s commentary was no grandstanding. Instead, he methodically laid out successively factual information that went unanswered.

    David Emery is correct in his comment above, “… Isn’t it unusual for Apple to skip meetings/hearings like this?”

    Dan Scropos comments have high merit, too. “… but that still doesn’t explain why Apple skipped this event… The optics of this are terrible.”

    Josh Hawley impressed me with his decorum, with his measured and piercing statements of which he wanted to engage in conversation with the CEO of Apple.

    Tim Cook has managed successfully to “thread-the-needle” in his working relationship with the man in the Oval Office and with senior officials in the Chinese Communist Party of the People’s Republic of China. Those statements of Senator Hawley directed to Apple’s empty chair went unanswered. In time, those unanswered statements become haunting for Apple, if not a disquieting or deleterious effect on the company’s good image.

    An empty chair that should have been filled, is a rebuke to Senator Hawley, to the members of the Committee and to the whole Congressional process. CEOs should not attempt to “spit into the eyes” of some of the more powerful figures having purview over companies’ operations.

    Did Apple release a written statement as to why it failed to show? At least that statement, if well calculated, if a carefully considered response, knowledgeably thought-out through conscious design and written, may ameliorate matters for the “no show.”

    It’s all about being prepared and ready for “constructive” engagement. Tim Cook prevailed in his working relationship with the Executive Office for that very reason.

    Question! If Apple was called to appear before a similar inquest in front of the CCP of the PRC, would Tim Cook do a “no-show?” Something tells me “no.” There’s the rub for me and many Americans.

    Perhaps Tim C is taking a page from the Trump playbook. BAD!

    November 6, 2019

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