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Trump says 'Tim Apple' for Tim Cook was just a handy time-saver

What's in a name, anyway? The president offers his perspective.

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Tim Who?

Steven Musil/CNET

President Donald Trump says referring to Apple CEO Tim Cook as "Tim Apple" during a recent meeting wasn't a gaffe. He was just trying to save time and words. 

"At a recent round table meeting of business executives, & long after formally introducing Tim Cook of Apple, I quickly referred to Tim + Apple as Tim/Apple as an easy way to save time & words," the president tweeted Monday. "The Fake News was disparagingly all over this, & it became yet another bad Trump story!"

During an introduction at a meeting last week of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board lauding Cook for the work he's done in American commerce, the president referred to Cook as "Tim Apple" while the two were sitting side by side.

Now playing: Watch this: President Trump calls Tim Cook 'Tim Apple'
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"We're going to be opening up the labor forces because we have to. We have so many companies coming in," Trump said. "People like Tim -- you're expanding all over and doing things that I really wanted you to do right from the beginning. I used to say, 'Tim, you gotta start doing it here,' and you really have, you've really put a big investment in our country. We really appreciate it very much, Tim Apple."

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Screenshot by CNET

Apple -- the company, that is -- didn't respond to a request for comment. However, Cook appeared to lean into the joke last Thursday by changing his Twitter name to Tim Apple, using an emoji for the company's logo.

Cook and Trump may not have a cozy relationship, but they aren't exactly strangers. Trump has criticized Apple under Cook's leadership, promising to make the company start manufacturing its products in the US instead of China. Cook also spoke up in 2017 against Trump's effort to close the US to immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries, telling employees in a memo that, "It is not a policy we support."

In June 2017, Cook participated in a tech summit hosted by the White House.

Last month, Cook was announced as a member of the advisory board, which aims "to revamp the American workforce to better meet the challenges of the 21st century." Cook is one of the 25 members, along with IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, and a mix of governors, mayors, university presidents and CEOs from companies like Walmart, Visa and Home Depot.

The "Tim Apple" reference appears about 1 hour, 3 minutes into the following clip:

Originally published March 6.
Update, March 7: Added that Cook changed his Twitter name.
Update, March 11: Added tweet from President Trump.