Donald Trump rally chants ‘lock him up’ over Mark Zuckerberg

The former president turned his guns on Facebook’s chief executive, despite reports that the social media giant gave his family special treatment

Independent Staff
Monday 27 September 2021 18:14
Trump rally crowd turns on Mark Zuckerberg and chants 'Lock him up'
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Donald Trump supporters targeted Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg with chants of “lock him up” during a rally in Georgia on Saturday.

The former president provoked angry boos with a misleading claim that about Mr Zuckerberg’s donations to an election safety non-profit, suggesting that he might have helped skew the election.

He then encouraged the crowd’s chants, responding: “Well, they should be looking at that. What is that all about?”

Demands to lock up political opponents have been a constant feature of Mr Trump’s rallies since 2016, when he encouraged them against his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

It comes after internal documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal revealed how Facebook has long given special treatment to Mr Trump and his son Don Jr when deciding whether their posts broke its rules.

Another report claimed that Mr Zuckerberg, who is the world’s fifth richest person with an estimated net worth of $126bn, agreed a secret deal with Mr Trump to avoid fact-checking political speech in exchange for lighter regulation of social media. Mr Zuckerberg denies that.

The “Save America” rally in Perry, Georgia this weekend was part of Mr Trump’s ongoing campaign to gin up his followers for future elections by denying that he lost the last one.

He devoted much of the rally to excoriating Georgia’s Republican governor Brian Kemp, who became a pariah to many in the party by refusing to help Mr Trump overturn the state’s vote to elect Joe Biden.

At one point he even mockingly endorsed Stacey Abrams, a Democrat who contested Mr Kemp’s election in 2018 and helped deliver Georgia to her party with a massive voter registration drive.

“Having her, I think might be better than having your existing governor, if you want to know,” said Mr Trump. “Stacey, would you like to take his place? It’s okay with me!”

At another point, the real estate tycoon zeroed in on a $350m donation from Mr Zuckergberg and his wife Priscilla Chan to help boost voter turnout amid a winter surge in Covid-19 cases during last year’s presidential election.

The Center for Tech and Civil Life (CTCL), a Washington DC non-profit, said the money would be disbursed to local election officials to provide drive-through voting, personal protective equipment, and extra hazard pay and training for poll workers.

But a report from the right-leaning Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) accused CTCL of skewing the election, arguing that it gave four times more of Mr Zuckerberg and Mrs Chan’s money to blue counties in Georgia than to red counties.

It claimed that grants to expand postal voting did not count as “related to Covid-19”, despite numerous judges ruling that mail-in ballots were an appropriate way to keep voters safe from the virus.

Democrats were far more likely than Republicans to vote by mail in 2020, while Republicans were more likely to vote in person, in part because Mr Trump spent months attempting to discredit the method by claiming that it was awash with fraud.

A spokesperson for Mr Zuckerberg and Mrs Chan’s charitable foundation said they had played no part in choosing grant recipients, and that red counties had gotten more grants than blue ones on a national scale.

They said every jurisdiction that applied for a grant and met the criteria did receive one.

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