Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg joined President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for dinner at the White House in October.
“As is normal for a CEO of a major U.S. company, Mark accepted an invitation to have dinner with the President and First Lady at the White House,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to NBC News.
The dinner took place while Zuckerberg was in Washington, DC, for his scheduled testimony and private meetings with several members of Congress.
Facebook board member Peter Thiel also joined the president and Zuckerberg for the dinner.
Trump also met with Zuckerberg in September, sharing a picture of the meeting after it happened.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 20, 2019
The news of a private dinner drew outrage from Facebook and Trump critics, despite former President Barack Obama also spending a lot of time with Zuckerberg.
In 2011, President Obama had dinner with Zuckerberg and other tech leaders including Apple CEO Steve Jobs, outgoing Google CEO Eric Schmidt, then CEO of Twitter Dick Costolo, and Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix.
Obama also participated in a Facebook town hall with Zuckerberg in 2011.
“The first time we had dinner together and he wore this jacket and tie,” Obama recalled about Zuckerberg. “I’d say halfway through dinner he’s starting to sweat a little bit. It’s really uncomfortable for him. So I helped him out of his jacket.”