Former President Donald Trump lashed out at Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a statement, accusing the social media exec of being a "criminal" for donating hundreds of millions of dollars to local election offices.
"Mark Zuckerberg, in my opinion, a criminal, is allowed to spend over $400 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.
It's unclear if Mr Trump is insinuating that Mr Zuckerberg was making campaign donations to his enemies or if he is accusing the CEO of manipulating the election through his donations.
Last year, Mr Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan donated $400m to local election offices to help them deal with the disruptions to in person elections the coronavirus caused.
The money went toward the purchases of masks and gloves for workers and for additional equipment to assist elections officials sort and process mail-in ballots.
A spokesman for Mr Zuckerberg and Ms Chan responded to the former president's comment in a statement to Business Insider.
"When our nation's election infrastructure faced unprecedented challenges last year due to the pandemic and the federal government failed to provide adequate funds, Mark and Priscilla provided funding to two non-partisan organisations that helped cities and states ensure that residents could vote regardless of their party or preference."
The spokesman also pointed out that the funds were not just distributed to Democratic districts, and that more Republican districts applied for and were given the money.
Regardless, Republicans tried to block to money in nine swing states, arguing that it was a "stealth campaign" to rig the election.
At the time, Mr Zuckerberg responded with a lengthy post explaining the donations, noting that he agreed with critics who said the government – not private donors – should be funding the changes that were necessary to ensure the election would not be disrupted by the pandemic.
“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,” he wrote. “That’s false. These funds will serve communities throughout the country – urban, rural and suburban – and are being allocated by non-partisan organizations.”
Mr Trump’s latest attack comes as he hypes up his latest endeavour, a social media company aimed at providing conservatives an alternative to Facebook and Twitter. Previous attempts at such sites – like MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s “Frank” and Mr Trump’s former spokesman Jason Miller’s “Gettr” – have been largely unsuccessful.
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