“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 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”
White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said Trump was referring to a July 22 meeting with telecommunications executives that included Pichai. CNBC reported that at a previous meeting in March, Trump and Pichai discussed privacy legislation and trade after GOP lawmakers 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.
Cat Zakrzewski contributed to this story.