One day after saying that hate has no place in the U.S., President Donald Trump went after Google and its CEO Sundar Pichai. In a series of tweets, the president said that Pichai spoke with him in the Oval Office where the executive supposedly told Trump how much he liked him and what a great job the administration is doing. The president went on to add that Pichai told him that Google was not involved with China's military and that they didn't have a bias toward Hillary Clinton in 2016. Trump wrote that Google's CEO said that his company doesn't plan to "illegally subvert the 2020 Election despite all that has been said to the contrary." The latter appears to be a supurious charge against Google.
So what set off the Commander-in-chief today? Apparently, Trump saw a segment on Lou Dobbs' Fox Business show about a fired Google engineer named Kevin Cernekee who had talked with Fox's Tucker Carlson. Cernekee told Carlson that Google really wants "Trump to lose in 2020. That’s their agenda." Google denied the allegations, and we should point out that both Dobbs and Carlson have agendas of their own. Cernekee, according to some Google employees, tried to promote some alt-right theories inside the company. He claims that Google fired him for his beliefs, although Google says he was fired for downloading internal company documents on his own mobile device.
Trump has attacked Google before for a perceived bias
The segment on Dobbs' show included an appearance of Breitbart editor Peter Schweizer. The conservative journalist caught Trump's attention and the president tweeted that "@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!"
This isn't the first time that the famously thin-skinned Trump attacked Google. In August of 2018, Trump disseminated a tweet accusing the company of rigging its search results so that stories critical of the president were more prominently listed. The president that weekend had seen a report on Fox from conservative blog PJ Media that was titled, "96 Percent of Google Search Results for 'Trump' News Are from Liberal Media Outlets." Of course, everyone is entitled to his or her opinions, but when someone has the power to make or break a company, mere hearsay cannot be used as evidence. For example, hours after Trump wrote that tweet last year, his economic advisor Lawrence Kudlow said that the administration was looking into regulating Google Search. Nothing came of that, obviously.
However, Google does have some real problems of its own making. The U.S. Department of Justice is looking into possible anticompetitive behavior by Google along with other big tech names like Apple, Facebook, and Amazon. You might recall that last year, the European Commission (EC) fined Google $5 billion for monopolistic behavior. The EC found that Google forced phone manufacturers who wanted to license the Google Play services version of Android to pre-install the Chrome browser and Google Search app. The company also paid manufacturers who installed only Google's search engine app on their devices, locking out competitors. The EC forced Google to include two pages on Android phones that allow users to choose a default browser among options like Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Opera, and Puffin. Another page gives Android users in Europe the option to choose a default search engine among Google, Qwant, DuckDuck Go, and others.