President Donald Trump attacked Apple on Twitter Tuesday afternoon, accusing the company of refusing to unlock phones used by “killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements.”
Trump’s broadside comes after Attorney General William Barr added pressure to the tech giant on Monday, calling on the company to help investigators access the locked cell phones of the deceased shooter in the Pensacola, Fla., naval base attack. The FBI asked for the company’s help accessing the devices after they were unable to, and Apple told POLITICO last week that it assisted as much as it could.
But in Monday’s news conference about the FBI’s investigation into the Dec. 6 shooting, Barr said the company “has not given us any substantive assistance.”
“We are helping Apple all of the time on TRADE and so many other issues,” Trump's tweet said. “...They will have to step up to the plate and help our great Country, NOW! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.”
Trump and Apple CEO Tim Cook have maintained a cordial relationship over the past few years through dinners and meetings, and most recently toured one of Apple’s Texas-based manufacturing facilities together in November. Cook also holds seats on key presidential advisory councils such as the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board.