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Apple CEO Calls Out Trump’s Response to Charlottesville, Donates $2 Million to Anti-Hate Groups

Tim Cook sent a clear message to Apple employees late Wednesday, both condemning President Donald Trump's defense of white supremacist groups who protested in Charlottesville and pledging $2 million…

Tim Cook sent a clear message to Apple employees late Wednesday, both hitting President Trump‘s defense of white supremacist groups who protested in Charlottesville and pledging $2 million to organizations that track the kinds of hate groups that visited the Virginia college town over the weekend.

“What occurred in Charlottesville has no place in our country,” Cook’s email to staffers said. “Hate is a cancer, and left unchecked it destroys everything in its path. Its scars last generations. History has taught us this time and time again, both in the United States and countries around the world.”

Cook appeared to take issue with Trump’s wild Tuesday press conference, in which he reiterated his belief that “many sides” were to blame for the violence in Virginia, which led to the death of one counter-protester, and that many “very fine people” were among the torch-carrying demonstrators Sieg Heil-ing and chanting anti-Jewish slogans.

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The comments were widely seen as an emboldening moment for white supremacist supporters of Trump, in that they lumped hate and anti-hate factions together, and former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke quickly praised him for his “honesty and courage.”

“We must not witness or permit such hate and bigotry in our country, and we must be unequivocal about it,” Cook said. “I disagree with the president and others who believe that there is a moral equivalence between white supremacists and Nazis, and those who oppose them by standing up for human rights. Equating the two runs counter to our ideals as Americans.”

Cook added that Apple will donate $1 million each to the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, and will institute a “two-for-one” employee match to those and other similar human rights groups.

Read the full letter below:

Team,

Like so many of you, equality is at the core of my beliefs and values. The events of the past several days have been deeply troubling for me, and I’ve heard from many people at Apple who are saddened, outraged or confused. 

What occurred in Charlottesville has no place in our country. Hate is a cancer, and left unchecked it destroys everything in its path. Its scars last generations. History has taught us this time and time again, both in the United States and countries around the world. 

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We must not witness or permit such hate and bigotry in our country, and we must be unequivocal about it. This is not about the left or the right, conservative or liberal. It is about human decency and morality. I disagree with the president and others who believe that there is a moral equivalence between white supremacists and Nazis, and those who oppose them by standing up for human rights. Equating the two runs counter to our ideals as Americans. 

Regardless of your political views, we must all stand together on this one point — that we are all equal. As a company, through our actions, our products and our voice, we will always work to ensure that everyone is treated equally and with respect. 

I believe Apple has led by example, and we’re going to keep doing that. We have always welcomed people from every walk of life to our stores around the world and showed them that Apple is inclusive of everyone. We empower people to share their views and express themselves through our products. 

In the wake of the tragic and repulsive events in Charlottesville, we are stepping up to help organizations who work to rid our country of hate. Apple will be making contributions of $1 million each to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. We will also match two-for-one our employees’ donations to these and several other human rights groups, between now and September 30. 

In the coming days, iTunes will offer users an easy way to join us in directly supporting the work of the SPLC. 

Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” So, we will continue to speak up. These have been dark days, but I remain as optimistic as ever that the future is bright. Apple can and will play an important role in bringing about positive change. 

Best,

Tim