Trump: Google 'Suppressed Negative Stories on Hillary Clinton'
President says Google CEO Sundar Pichai 'lied' to him about interfering in 2016 election
President Donald Trump has accused Google CEO Sundar Pichai of lying to him about the Big Tech giant allegedly meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
The president says the Internet search company was actively suppressing negative stories about Hillary Clinton from appearing in its results while, at the same time, promoting information was that was damaging to Donald Trump and his campaign.
Trump tore into Google and its CEO Tuesday, warning he is watching the company "very closely."
President Trump's warning comes amid a legislative push to regulate Big Tech and mounting claims that firms are abusing their power by interfering in democracies to suit their own political bias.
Trump says Pichai previously groveled to him on how well the administration was performing.
According to the Daily Mail, the attack on Google came a day after he blamed social media as one of the reasons for mass shootings, in a speech which also took aim at online forums and the internet as causing a "culture of violence."
Trump began his Twitter blasts at the company by claiming its chief executive officer had sought to flatter him, in a likely reference to a meeting held last month at the White House with Pichai and other tech executives.
"@sundarpichai of Google was in the Oval Office working very hard to explain how much he liked me, what a great job the Administration is doing, that Google was not involved with China's military, that they didn't help Crooked Hillary over me in the 2016 Election, and that they...are NOT planning to illegally subvert the 2020 Election despite all that has been said to the contrary," Trump tweeted.
"It all sounded good until I watched Kevin Cernekee, a Google engineer, say terrible things about what they did in 2016 and that they want to 'Make sure that Trump losses [sic]...in 2020," Trump continued.
.@sundarpichai of Google was in the Oval Office working very hard to explain how much he liked me, what a great job the Administration is doing, that Google was not involved with China’s military, that they didn’t help Crooked Hillary over me in the 2016 Election, & that they...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 6, 2019
... are NOT planning to illegally subvert the 2020 Election despite all that has been said to the contrary. It all sounded good until I watched Kevin Cernekee, a Google engineer, say terrible things about what they did in 2016 and that they want to “Make sure that Trump losses...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 6, 2019
...in 2020.” Lou Dobbs stated that this is a fraud on the American public. @peterschweizer stated with certainty that they suppressed negative stories on Hillary Clinton, and boosted negative stories on Donald Trump. All very illegal. We are watching Google very closely!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 6, 2019
He was referencing a segment on Lou Dobbs' Fox Business Network, which was broadcast Monday, where Cernekee promoted the theory that Google suppressed positive search results on Trump and promoted negative news about him.
He also touted an appearance by "Clinton Cash" author Peter Schweizer.
"@peterschweizer stated with certainty that they suppressed negative stories on Hillary Clinton, and boosted negative stories on Donald Ttump [sic]. All very illegal. We are watching Google very closely!' Trump wrote.
Cernekee, a former Google engineer, told Dobbs on Monday: "When President Trump won in 2016, Google executives went up on stage right away and cried, literally tears streaming down their faces over the fact that President Trump won.
"They vowed that it would never happen again, and they want to use all of the power and all the resources that they have to control the flow of information to the public and make sure that Trump loses in 2020."
Cernekee was fired from Google in 2018.
He claims he was subjected to "bullying" due to his conservative political posture.
Google denies his claim.
Hours earlier, Trump had tweeted out a clip of Schweizer telling Dobbs about Google: "They suppressed negative stories about Hillary Clinton and they boosted negative stories about Donald Trump."
Schweizer also said that in 2016 Google didn't feel like it had to "tip the scale all that much" and predicted the firm would go "all-in" in 2020.
Last year, Trump issued a similar threat, and claimed the firm's search results were "RIGGED."
Google issued a statement denying the charge in 2018, which online search experts also have said is untrue.
"Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don't bias our results toward any political ideology," it said.
"Every year, we issue hundreds of improvements to our algorithms to ensure they surface high-quality content in response to users' queries.
"We continually work to improve Google Search and we never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment."
The election result did cause upset inside Google.
During a company meeting immediately after the election, several execs said they had backed Hillary Clinton but sought to reassure employees.
Said co-founder Sergey Brin at the meeting: "Myself as an immigrant and a refugee, I certainly find the selection deeply offensive and I know many of you do too ...
"I think it's a very stressful time and conflicts with many of our values."
Tensions between Silicon Valley and Trump and the Republican party over claims of anti-conservative bias on Google and social media platforms have been growing.
One pro-Trump senator has brought forward draft legislation which would limit social media companies' ability to produce "endless scrolls."
And Republican members of Congress have repeatedly questioned executives on allegations of bias.
They have asked whether Google News results are rigged in favor of liberal outlets and whether Twitter, in particular, has selectively censored conservative views.
Trump himself has railed against Twitter, claiming it has made it difficult for users to follow him, although the platform denies that is the case.
In July Trump publicly endorsed a claim by controversial Paypal founder Peter Thiel that Google was working with the Chinese military rather than the U.S. military, which Thiel called "seemingly treasonous."
But Trump's Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin walked back that claim, which was made at a conservative conference.
Mnuchin told CNBC: "We're not aware of any areas where Google is working with the Chinese government that in any way raises concerns."