Trump accuses Google of anti-conservative bias
By HANNAH DENHAM | The Washington Post | Published: August 6, 2019
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump accused Google on Tuesday of favoring negative news stories about him in the 2016 presidential election, apparently in response to a report on Fox News.
In a series of three tweets Tuesday morning, Trump said he had met with Google chief executive Sundar Pichai in the Oval Office, who told him the company didn't boost Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election, wouldn't interfere with the 2020 election and wasn't involved with the Chinese military.
"We are watching Google very closely!" Trump said in a tweet on Tuesday.
On Monday, Fox News aired a "Fox & Friends" interview with ex-Google engineer Kevin Cernekee, who said Google had a problem with anti-conservative bias on its platforms and within the company and that he was fired because of it.
"When President Trump won in 2016, Google executives went up onstage right away and cried, literally tears streaming down their faces, over the fact that President Trump won," Cernekee said in the Fox News interview. "They vowed that it would never happen again, and they want to use all 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."
A Google spokesperson disputed the claims in an email to The Washington Post.
"The statements made by this disgruntled former employee are absolutely false," the statement read. "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."
In Tuesday's tweets, Trump referenced the interview by Fox Business Network show host Lou Dobbs with Breitbart senior editor Peter Schweizer that aired on Monday. On Monday night, he retweeted clips of the interview, with the caption, "Check out what Google is up to for the 2020 election! #KAG2020"
Pichai has met with Trump at the White House several times. CNBC reported they discussed privacy legislation and trade at a March meeting after GOP lawmakers had accused the company of political bias on its platforms. At the time, news reports had recently revealed Google had been devising a censored search engine that would fit China's strict internet laws.
The Wall Street Journal published a profile of Cernekee on Thursday, and his experience as a Google employee before he was fired in June 2018.
Google says it fired Cernekee because he used a personal device to search and download confidential internal documents. After a judicial order required him to return the information, he gave the company tens of thousands of pages of documents, the company said.
The Washington Post's Cat Zakrzewski contributed to this report.
@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...— 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 Ttump. All very illegal. We are watching Google very closely!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 6, 2019