Donald Trump accused Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg of being a ‘criminal’ in a scathing statement lashing out against his $400 million donation toward local election offices in the November 2020 race.
The former president was fuming over charges levied against Nebraska Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry over illegal campaign contributions, which he called a double standard with how others – the tech billionaire, for example – are treated.
‘Mark Zuckerberg, in my opinion a criminal, is allowed to spend $500 million and therefore able to change the course of a Presidential Election,’ Trump said.
Zuckerberg, 37, and his wife Priscilla Chan, 36, donated $419.5 million to The Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL) and The Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR), which was reportedly given with specific conditions.
CTCL, a nonpartisan foundation that had liberal roots, distributed the majority of the funds – $350 million.
Some of its founders, including Epps-Johnson, once were at the New Organizing Institute, which provided data and training to liberal activists.
One analysis shows Biden-winning counties were three times more likely to get funding from the organizations than Trump ones.
GOP anger over the donation spurred at least eight GOP-controlled states to pass bans on donations to election offices this year as they try to block outside funding of voting operations.
Trump lashed out at Mark Zuckerberg multiple times this month over the $400 million donation he and his wife made to election groups
Trump lambasted several of his perceived enemies in the scathing statement last week
Using the donations, both CTCL and CEIR sent funds to local governments to implement administrative practices, voting methods, data-sharing agreements, and outreach programs for the 2020 elections, according to the report published in the Federalist on Tuesday.
The cash was also spent on pandemic protective equipment like masks and gloves, as well as equipment to process ballots, the Associated Press reported.
There’s no evidence Zuckerberg did anything wrong or that his donation ran afoul of campaign or other laws.
But that didn’t stop Trump from parroting his allegations again on Wednesday, in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal.
There’s no evidence Zuckerberg did anything wrong or that his donation ran afoul of campaign or other laws
In the piece Trump accused Zuckerberg of spending more than $17 million ‘to interfere in the Pennsylvania election.’
A spokesperson for the Chan-Zuckerberg initiative told Insider that more Republican-dominated counties had in fact requested the funding than Democrat.
Nearly 2,500 election jurisdictions from 49 states applied for and received funds, including urban, suburban, rural, and exurban counties…and more Republican than Democratic jurisdictions applied for and received the funds,’ they said.
The same day Trump sent out his initial statement early last week, he panned Zuckerberg to Bill O’Reilly in an interview on The First TV.
‘What he did, in my opinion, was illegal,’ Trump told O’Reilly.
‘He’s going to get away with it,’ O’Reilly said, according to the New York Post.
Trump replied: ‘Well, you don’t know if he’s going to get away with it. OK.’
He’s not the only Republican to have piled onto Zuckerberg over the multi-million donation.
North Carolina Rep. Dan Bishop accused the tech billionaire of putting ‘his thumb on the scale’ to give Democrats an edge in last year’s races.
‘Our elections are not for sale, but Mark Zuckerberg apparently believes otherwise as he did all he could to put a thumb on the scale for Democrats in 2020,’ Bishop told DailyMail.com.
‘It’s clear that no one meddled more in the last election than Zuckerberg and the Big Tech elites.’
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul ripped Zuckerberg for trying to ‘purchase’ Wisconsin, a critical battleground state that was reportedly targeted by one of the Zuckerberg-funded groups, for Biden.
‘Are our elections for sale? Did Mark Zuckerberg purchase the Wisconsin Presidential election?’ Paul asked.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis blasted Zuckerberg during a news conference and touted new election laws he recently signed into law as a ban on ‘Zuckerbucks’ in Florida.
‘So, Zuckerberg, he spent over $400 million through these, quote, nonprofits to, quote, help with election administration,’ DeSantis said.
‘But what they would do is they would require certain things to be done like mass mail balloting, ballot harvesting, and they would focus on partisan voter turnout, basically. That was totally unacceptable.’
Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said: ‘I continue to question whether Mark Zuckerberg’s highly partisan 2020 election spending was even legal.’