Donald Trump’s campaign staff upped the ante in a developing public spat with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday. Despite the exceptional wealth of both men involved, the two are hardly fellow travelers when it comes to politics, and although Zuckerberg fired the first, thinly veiled salvo, Trump’s surrogates are not likely to let him get in the last word.
As previously reported by The Guardian, Mark Zuckerberg appeared to take issue with Donald Trump’s incendiary campaign rhetoric during public comments at the F8 developer conference in San Francisco on Tuesday. While he did not mention the billionaire candidate by name, Zuckerberg touched upon the isolationism and anti-immigrant sentiments that have become hallmarks of Trump’s unorthodox presidential campaign.
“Instead of building walls we can help build bridges,” said Zuckerberg. “Instead of dividing people we can connect people. We do it one person at a time, one connection at time. That’s why I think the work we’re doing together is more important than it has ever been before.”
The Facebook co-creator also said that people generally accomplish more through unity, urging his audience to resist some of the current geopolitical trends.
“Instead of building walls we can help build bridges. Instead of dividing people we can connect people. We do it one person at a time, one connection at time. That’s why I think the work we’re doing together is more important than it has ever been before,” he added.
While Donald Trump has an official Facebook page, he uses the social media platform Twitter extensively, which has been the source of a good deal of drama and intrigue during the present election cycle.
Zuckerberg’s comments were seized upon by key Trump campaign staff on Wednesday. As noted by Business Insider, Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson blasted Mark Zuckerberg in an appearance on CNBC, suggesting that the Facebook CEO is an out-of-touch elitist.
“Self-righteousness isn’t very proactive. We can talk about taxes, we can talk about jobs and even immigration, but that doesn’t really put food on the table and save lives,” Pierson aside. “I think I’ll take Mark Zuckerberg seriously when he gives up all of his private security, moves out of his posh neighborhood, and comes to live in a modest neighborhood near a border town,” she added.
Business Insider also noted that Pierson deflected the point that Donald Trump also employs private security for his own protection, stating that Trump is trying to “protect American citizens” through his political aspirations. The real estate mogul is also protected by the Secret Service and local law enforcement at campaign events.
Trump’s dust-up with Mark Zuckerberg is not his first feud with a fellow billionaire. Via Twitter, Donald Trump once accused Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos of purchasing the Washington Post as part of an elaborate tax scam. Bezos responded by offering to shoot Donald Trump into space on his Blue Origin rocket. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has publicly stated that he does not want to see Donald Trump as the Republican Party’s nominee. Even Mark Cuban, who has a longstanding personal relationship with Donald Trump, has stated that he is not sure if he will back the controversial candidate for president.
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