Donald Trump supporters attending his rally in Georgia Saturday night turned against Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, erupting in a chant of “Lock him up.”
The crowd responded after an attack by Trump, who inaccurately cited a Fox News report and claimed Georgia officials “took $45 million from Mark Zuckerberg to fund election-related activities,” which he seemed to imply skewed the election to aid a Joe Biden victory. In fact, Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, donated some $400 million to the Center for Tech and Civic Life, which doled out grants to almost all states to help with election administration.
Trump appeared pleased by the anger of the crowd at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry. He responded after the chant: “Well, they should be looking at that. What is that all about?”
The men used to be closer. A new biography of venture capitalist Peter Thiel, “Contrarian,” claims that Zuckerberg agreed in a 2019 White House meeting — which included Thiel — to not fact-check political posts if Trump would avoid “heavy-handed regulations.”
Zuckerberg dismissed the account as “ridiculous.” But Trump told Fox News earlier this month that Zuckerberg used to come to the White House to “kiss my ass” so the president wouldn’t “ban” Facebook.
Zuckerberg — and Thiel — did have dinner in 2019 with Trump at the White House when Zuckerberg was in Washington to testify at a hearing about his company’s new cryptocurrency, Facebook confirmed much later. But none of the men revealed what was discussed.
After the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, Trump was banned by Facebook until 2023 and permanently banned by Twitter. Trump called the Jan. 6 riot a “hoax” at the Georgia rally.
Other than attacking his enemies at the rally, Trump largely rolled out his election defeat grievances, yet again baselessly claiming he won the presidential election. He even insisted he won in Arizona just a day after it was revealed that a draft report from the partisan Cyber Ninjas ballot auditors, hired by the Republican state Senate, determined Biden won. Trump called Biden a “Marxist” at the rally.
He also said Democrat Stacey Abrams, a gubernatorial candidate in the state in 2018, might have been a better choice than current GOP Gov. Brian Kemp.
Trump is furious with Kemp, whom he lashed as a “disaster,” for refusing to overturn the results of the presidential election in the state, which was narrowly won by Biden. In a recorded phone call last year after the election, Trump ordered Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to turn his defeat into a victory.
Having Abrams “I think might be better than having your existing governor, if you want to know the truth,” Trump said at the rally, prompting resounding boos from the crowd.
“Stacey — would you like to take his place? It’s OK with me,” Trump teased.
“We don’t want her!” someone yelled from the crowd.
Trump has already endorsed Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) to oust Raffensperger, and former NFL football star Herschel Walker to challenge Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.). The Associated Press reported in July that documents revealed that Walker, who also spoke at the Georgia rally, detailed accusations of threats Walker made on his ex-wife’s life, exaggerated claims about business success and erratic behavior that troubled his business allies.
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