Mark Zuckerberg wants you to know that he’s not running for president.
In recent months, Facebook’s CEO has dined with a family at its home in Ohio and been been photographed working on an assembly line at a Ford factory, meeting with members of the military, and even feeding a calf. But as much as such outings may look and sound like someone raising his profile for a political run, Zuckerberg insists that’s not the case.
“Some of you have asked if this challenge means I’m running for public office,” Zuckerberg recently wrote in a Facebook post. “I’m not.”
And that wasn’t the first time the 33-year-old billionaire has tried to quiet the speculation. After he ate dinner last month with the Ohio family, the chief spokeswoman for his philanthropic fund instructed the family to tell reporters Zuckerberg wasn’t planning to run for office.
Zuckerberg’s stops are part of plan to visit every US state this year. He says it’s just to fulfil a personal challenge. But we can’t help it if we think there’s something more to it than that.
We’ve collected the most presidential highlights from his whirlwind US tour so far:
Zuckerberg kicked off his US tour in January in Dallas, Texas. He was there to testify in a lawsuit against his VR company Oculus, but he found time to help plant a garden with high schoolers downtown.
While in Dallas, he also met local police officers. 'These officers do such important work, and it meant a lot to me to be able to thank them in person,' he wrote on his Facebook page.
While in the area, he made time to go to his first rodeo in Fort Worth, Texas, with the city's mayor.
He also held a roundtable discussion with pastors from Waco, Texas. A few weeks earlier, Zuckerberg had told a Facebook user that he is not an atheist, despite having previously described himself as a nonbeliever.
Zuckerberg continued his tour of the South in Alabama, visiting Mobile and Bayou La Batre. While there, he met with Dominick Ficarino, a shrimp fisherman who starred in a show on the History channel called 'Big Shrimpin'.'
While in Selma, Alabama, Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan paid a visit to the Selma Times-Journal newspaper. 'It seems like a good time to say thank you to all the journalists around the world who work tirelessly and sometimes put their lives in danger to surface the truth,' he wrote on Facebook.
The couple met with Anthony Ray Hinton, who was wrongfully imprisoned for 30 years on death row. 'When I heard this, I apologised to him,' Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook. 'Not because I could have helped in his case, but because it is all of our responsibility to make our society one of justice for all.'
So as not to take sides, Zuckerberg visited both Duke and its arch-rival, the University of North Carolina, during the NCAA tournament. 'We all need to be part of something bigger than ourselves -- whether that's a team or a community that roots for a team,' he wrote.
He and Chan paid a somber visit to a historical battlefield and cemetery from the Civil War-era in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
He got a hands-on look at America's oil economy when he toured an oil drillship in the Gulf of Mexico.
While in Charleston, South Carolina, he attended a service at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The church was the site of the massacre perpetrated by white supremacist Dylann Roof in 2015.
He paid a visit to North Carolina's Fort Bragg military base, where he met with the U.S. Army Special Operations Command and military spouses.
He talked about immigration with Muslim students from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. (Zuckerberg was one of the first tech CEOs to denounce President Trump's initial executive order on barring Muslims from entering the US.)
While in northeast Ohio, Zuckerberg paid a surprise visit to a family who had voted for Obama before switching to Trump in the last election.
He visited the local fire department in Elkhart, Indiana. 'The community in Elkhart should sleep easier knowing this crew has their back,' he wrote.
He and Chan visited a middle school in Providence, Rhode Island, that practices so-called personalised learning. The couple has backed the teaching method through sizable donations to schools around the country.
The couple also met military officers at the US Naval War College in Rhode Island. 'I'm always impressed by our military every time I interact with them,' Zuckerberg wrote after the visit. 'There is so much to learn from them as a high performing organisation operating under difficult conditions.'
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