President Trump said Tuesday that he will recommend that various federal agencies, and possibly the Justice Department, “take a look” into Google, after billionaire investor Peter Thiel accused the tech giant of having “treasonous” ties to China.
“It’s a big statement when you say that Google is involved with China in not a very positive way for our country,” Trump, who referred to Thiel as a friend, told reporters at the White House. “So I think we’ll all look at that. I know that our other agencies will be looking at it and we’ll see if there’s any truth to it.”
Trump’s comments at the White House echo his Tuesday morning tweet, where he said Thiel is a “great and brilliant guy who knows this subject better than anyone!”
“’Billionaire Tech Investor Peter Thiel believes Google should be investigated for treason. He accuses Google of working with the Chinese Government,’” Trump tweeted.” “A great and brilliant guy who knows this subject better than anyone! The Trump Administration will take a look!”
Thiel, who sits on Facebook’s board and co-founded PayPal, criticized Google for doing business with China and not the U.S. military.
“There’s this very peculiar background where Google is working with the Chinese communist government and not with the U.S. military; so the Project Maven decision was a decision not to work with A.I., with the U.S. military -- but they’re working with the Communist Chinese,” he told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson on Monday in an exclusive interview.
Thiel’s remarks, first made on Sunday, were an apparent reference to the company’s decision last year not to renew a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense, related to the analysis of drone footage using artificial intelligence tools as company employees protested creating products for the U.S. government.
Following Thiel's remarks, Google reiterated that it does not have any dealings with the Chinese military. The company said Thiel’s allegations are false, but did not elaborate on the situation.
"As we have said before, we do not work with the Chinese military," Google said in a statement on Tuesday.
FOX Business’ Thomas Barrabi contributed to this report.