President Donald Trump is again going after Google. In a series of early morning tweets, Trump attacked Google CEO Sundar Pichai and warned the search giant that he’s watching the company “very closely” ahead of the 2020 US election.
Trump said he met with Pichai in the Oval Office and raised questions about Google’s role in the 2016 election, as well as the company’s artificial intelligence work in China. He also suggested, without evidence, that Google is trying to “illegally subvert” the next election.
“All very illegal,” Trump tweeted. “We are watching Google very closely!”
Trump referenced Kevin Cernekee, a former Google engineer and subject of a Wall Street Journal profile last week, who claims he was fired from Google for his conservative views. Google on Tuesday called Cernekee a “disgruntled former employee” and said his statements about the company are “absolutely false.”
“We go to great lengths to build our products and enforce our policies in ways that don’t take political leanings into account,” a spokeswoman said. “Distorting results for political purposes would harm our business and go against our mission of providing helpful content to all of our users.”
Trump’s accusation of anticonservative bias is a familiar refrain. Last August, Trump claimed that Google’s search results were “rigged” to promote negative news stories on Trump. At the time, the president told reporters, “I think Google has really taken advantage of a lot of people.” He added, “Google and Twitter and Facebook, they’re really treading on very, very troubled territory, and they have to be careful.”
Last month, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he met with Pichai to discuss the company’s work in China. After the meeting, Mnuchin said he and Trump had no security concerns about Google’s work in the country. Two days later, though, Trump tweeted that there “may or may not” be security concerns.