President Trump says Mark Zuckerberg running for president 'wouldn't be too frightening'

Facebook/Donald TrumpPresident Trump tweeted this image of his meeting with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the White House on September 19, 2019.

President Donald Trump isn’t too concerned about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg running for president. He’s in favour of it, even.

“I heard he’s gonna run for president,” Trump said in a new interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box. “That wouldn’t be too frightening I don’t think.”

The issue Zuckerberg could face, Trump said, is the massive social network company Zuckerberg runs. “He does have that monster behind him,” Trump said.

It’s unclear what Trump is referring to specifically when he says Zuckerberg has a “monster” behind him – and White House representatives didn’t respond to a request for clarification – but it appears he’s referencing either the power of Facebook or the series of controversies that it’s faced in recent years.

Mark Zuckerberg at Georgetown UniversityAndrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty ImagesFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a case for not fact-checking political ads during a speech at Georgetown University in October.

The latest point of contention – that Facebook refuses to fact-check political ads run on its social networks, citing an interest in preserving free political speech – has dogged the company for the past six months.

Before that, the company was facing scrutiny over its role in the 2016 election and in the Rohingya genocide.

In so many words, Facebook has been facing a seemingly endless litany of controversies and scandals for the past several years. Those controversies have overshadowed Zuckerberg’s 2017 US tour, which looked an awful lot like a gladhanding tour before announcing a run for the US presidency.

Zuckerberg visited newspapers, and military bases, and even stopped to feed a calf.

Mark Zuckerberg US tour, 2017FacebookMark Zuckerberg toured Fort Bragg military base in North Carolina in 2017.

The tour had all the signs of a potential run for president – up to and including eating dinner with a seemingly random family in Ohio. At the time, Zuckerberg repeatedly denied intentions to run for public office.

“Some of you have asked if this challenge means I’m running for public office,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “I’m not.”

Denials aside, the tenor around Facebook and Zuckerberg took a sharp turn following the 2016 US presidential election, and the company – as well as its chief executive – have remained on the defensive ever since.

Representatives for Facebook and the White House did not respond to requests for comment.

Watch the full interview with President Trump from CNBC’s Squawk Box right here:

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