Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis blasted Apple on Tuesday over Elon Musk’s allegations that it has threatened to boot Twitter from its App Store — and took a dig at the iPhone maker over its history of cooperating with the Chinese Communist Party.
DeSantis came to Musk’s defense hours after the billionaire Twitter CEO alleged that Apple has “threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store, but won’t tell us why.” Musk also claimed that Apple – previously one of Twitter’s biggest advertisers – has pulled back on ads in recent days.
In response, the Republican governor said Musk’s move to reinstate thousands of banned Twitter accounts may have factored into Apple’s alleged moves — and that the company’s response should invite scrutiny from Washington.
“If Apple responds to that by nuking them from the App Store, I think that would be a huge, huge mistake and it would be a really raw exercise of monopolistic power that I think would merit a response from the United States Congress,” DeSantis said.
“Don’t be a vassal of the [Chinese Communist Party] on one hand and then use your corporate power in the United States on the other to suffocate Americans and try to suppress their right to express themselves,” DeSantis added.
DeSantis accused Apple of providing “aid and comfort to the CCP” by restricting use of its Airdrop feature in China, where protests against government-backed, draconian COVID-19 lockdowns have spread throughout the country.
The Post has reached out to Apple for comment.
Apple is already is attempting to head off Republican criticism over its business ties to China.
On Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook met with top legislators — including Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Rep. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) under the guise of antitrust concerns.
But insiders told The Post the lawmakers will undoubtedly probe him on other major concerns facing Apple: Namely the company’s quietly agreeing to help the CCP suppress protest.
A frequent critic of “woke” actions by major US corporations, DeSantis previously engaged in a war of words with Disney over the company’s public disapproval for Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. That dispute culminated in a DeSantis-led effort in Florida to revoke Disney’s special tax status within the state.
Musk attacked Apple in a series of tweets on Monday, accusing the iPhone maker of using its control of the App Store to suppress free speech. In one post, he referenced Cook.
“Apple has mostly stopped advertising on Twitter. Do they hate free speech in America?” Musk said. “What’s going on here @tim_cook?”
Musk also ripped Apple for taking a 30% cut of revenue from large app developers with placement in its App Store. Additionally, he posted a poll asking followers if Apple “should publish all censorship actions it has taken that affect its customers.”
Nearly 85% of respondents agreed with Musk’s suggestion in the poll, which drew more than 2.2 million participants.
“The people have spoken…” Musk added on Tuesday afternoon.
Musk has rankled detractors in recent days before pushing forward with efforts to re-emphasize an “absolutist” free speech model for Twitter’s content moderation practices.
This week, Twitter is restoring more than 62,000 accounts that were suspended under previous management, including more than 11,000 pages that were banned for violating the company’s COVID-19 misinformation policy, Platformer reported.
In a separate update on its website, Twitter said it would stop enforcing the COVID-19 misinformation policy entirely as of Nov. 23.
Musk had previously infuriated critics but removing a ban on the account of former President Donald Trump, which had been in place since shortly after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
DeSantis and Musk have expressed mutual support on several occasions in recent months, with the Florida governor praising his decision to acquire and revamp Twitter.
Meanwhile, Musk reiterated last week that he plans to support DeSantis if he follows through with a run for the US presidency in 2024.
“My preference for the 2024 presidency is someone sensible and centrist. I had hoped that would the case for the Biden administration, but have been disappointed so far,” Musk tweeted last Friday. When asked if he would back DeSantis, Musk responded with a simple “yes.”