- Donald Trump attacked Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, calling him a ‘criminal.’
- Trump baselessly suggested that Zuckerberg’s $US400 ($AU531) million donation to election causes was suspect.
- There is no evidence Zuckerberg’s donation was used improperly.
Former US President Donald Trump attacked Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg in an angry statement, claiming that a $US400 ($AU531) million donation he made to local election offices last year makes him a “criminal.”
“Mark Zuckerberg, in my opinion, a criminal, is allowed to spend over $US400 ($AU531) million and therefore able to change the course of a Presidential Election, and nothing happens to Facebook,” Trump said in an emailed statement to supporters.
Trump appeared to be referring to $US400 ($AU531) million that Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan donated to local election offices last year.
The money was to help them adapt to changes in voting patterns that resulted from the coronavirus pandemic.
It was spent on items including personal protective equipment like masks and gloves, and equipment to process mail ballots the Associated Press reported.
There is no evidence that Zuckerberg’s donations were criminal or even partisan, but Trump’s comments echoed wider Republican fury at the move.
One Republican legal group in October last year attempted to stop the money from being used in nine swing states, calling it “an insidious, coordinated, and stealth campaign to manipulate this year’s elections.”
Zuckerberg denied that the funds would be used in a partisan manner.
He said in a statement in October last year: “Since our initial donation, there have been multiple lawsuits filed in an attempt to block these funds from being used, based on claims that the organizations receiving donations have a partisan agenda.
“That’s false. These funds will serve communities throughout the country — urban, rural and suburban – and are being allocated by non-partisan organizations.”
Trump, who has continued to push baseless claims of widespread election fraud since leaving office in January, also made similar claims about Zuckerberg in an angry letter to The Washington Post published Wednesday.
He cited part of Zuckerberg’s donation which had been allocated to voting systems in Pennsylvania as evidence of the Facebook founder attempting to “interfere” in the state’s election results.
Pennsylvania voted for Joe Biden and, as in other parts of the US, attempts by Trump allies to challenge the results did not succeed.