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Trump says he’s ‘watching Google very closely’ after meeting with CEO

Trump says he’s ‘watching Google very closely’ after meeting with CEO


The company is dealing with new anti-conservative bias claims

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A Google logo sits at the center of ominous concentric circles
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

President Trump again took aim at Google in a series of tweets on Tuesday morning, claiming there was an anti-conservative bias at the search giant while also suggesting there was a conspiracy at the company to “illegally subvert the 2020 election,” ideas the company has repeatedly denied.

“We are watching Google very closely!”

Trump said in the tweets that he had met with CEO Sundar Pichai and discussed recent news about the company, including its work in China. Trump wrote that “it all sounded good” before he learned of a former Google engineer who recently claimed there was a bias against conservatives at the company.

The former employee, Kevin Cernekee, was the subject of a Wall Street Journal profile last week, and has appeared on Fox News, but has since been criticized for his past statements at Google on topics like white nationalist Richard Spencer. Last night, Trump also posted an interview Cernekee gave to Lou Dobbs, in which he claimed Google would work to damage Trump’s 2020 reelection bid. The company has denounced the comments as baseless.

“All very illegal,” Trump wrote this morning about the company. “We are watching Google very closely!”

“The statements made by this disgruntled former employee are absolutely false,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement, adding that Cernekee was fired for downloading confidential information. “We go to great lengths to build our products and enforce our policies in ways that don’t take political leanings into account. Distorting results for political purposes would harm our business and go against our mission of providing helpful content to all of our users.”

Trump, by now, has a history of questioning Google’s motives. As a candidate in the 2016 election, he suggested the company was actively “suppressing” negative news about Hillary Clinton, a claim he’s since repeated, despite a lack of evidence. As president, he has talked before about meeting with Pichai, and in March, he tweeted about a meeting where the two discussed “political fairness.” It’s not clear if Trump was referencing the same meeting today, but at the time, the president said it had “ended very well!”