Tuesday, July 16, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He got manipulated.

Last night, Peter Thiel appeared on a Fox News program and accused Google of "seemingly treasonous" behavior with the Chinese government. Thiel is a Trump ally and chair of the data-mining company Palantir, and he wasn't very specific about what "treasonous" things he thought Google was doing. Thiel—who is also invested in several Google competitors and would benefit financially if the company stumbled—called for the FBI and CIA to investigate "in a not excessively gentle manner."

Thiel's argument seems to be that because he feels some Google employees are "ideologically super left-wing, sort of woke," the company as a whole is vulnerable to infiltration. He also falsely claimed that Google was doing business in China. It is not.

This morning, Fox and Friends mentioned the interview, prompting Trump to tweet this:

It's not yet clear if Trump—whose idea of secure communications is a bike messenger— really thinks that Thiel is an expert, or whether he'll follow through on his promise to investigate on Thiel's say-so. But it is very, very, very, very, very, very easy to get Trump to take action against companies he thinks don't support him enough.

Why does this matter?

  • It shouldn't be this easy to manipulate the President of the United States.
  • In a democracy, the government doesn't investigate companies just because the president's political allies tell him to.