According to emails obtained by Bloomberg, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, recommended two people for positions on Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg‘s campaign that were eventually hired, The Hill reports.
The emails, which were sent to campaign manager Mike Schmuhl and recommended Eric Mayefsky and Nina Wornhoff, were reportedly sent to Buttigieg’s campaign earlier this year when the campaign was flooded with potential employees.
“To give you a sense of what the time was like, we literally had people staking out the coffee shop on the first floor of our building wanting to work for our campaign, hoping to run into someone,” said an aide to Buttigieg’s campaign that confirmed the existence of emails to The Hill.
The aide also said that hiring campaign staffers via recommendations was not out of the ordinary.
According to Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for Zuckerberg and Chan, the recommendations were made to Buttigieg’s campaign on behalf of Mayefsky and Wornhoff.
“Having seen Mark’s visit to South Bend in 2017 and Facebook Live with Mayor Buttigieg, colleagues later asked Mark and Priscilla to connect them with the Buttigieg campaign as they were interested in joining,” he said to Bloomberg via a statement.
Zuckerberg also confirmed Monday that the recommendations are not equivalent to an endorsement for his Buttigieg’s campaign.
Here's the story on the Zuckerberg-Buttigieg relationship:— Teddy Schleifer (@teddyschleifer) October 21, 2019
They were introduced ahead of Buttigieg's 2017 run for DNC chair by Joe Green, who went to Harvard with both of them and later worked at Facebook.
Then when Zuck wanted to visit Indiana, Buttigieg volunteered to host. pic.twitter.com/9FjRAAjh6w
The news comes not long after Zuckerberg faced criticism for reportedly meeting with conservative media pundits in an effort to “appease” Donald Trump, who threatened to sue Facebook earlier this year. Zuckerberg is allegedly worried about his company being broken up by the Department of Justice (DOJ), and also faces a threat from Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren, who seeks to break up Big Tech companies.
Buttigieg’s campaign was recently attacked by progressive commentator Kyle Kulinski, who was highly critical of the South Bend, Indiana, mayor’s flip on Medicare for All during the fourth Democratic debate.
“Mayor Pete jumped into the presidential race praising Bernie Sanders,” he tweeted, adding that he flipped to being a “conservative democrat” when he realized that there was no path for him to win the nomination by supporting Sanders’ policies.
“He’s the textbook definition of a flip flopping fraud and nobody should trust him,” he wrote.
Regardless, Buttigieg is currently fourth in the polls behind Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders. Although his debate performance received criticism from independent progressive commentators, mainstream media outlets, such as USA Today, Fox News, and CNN, appeared to favor him as at least one of the top performers.