Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called President Donald Trump the day after the Minneapolis riots began, warning him that an escalation of rhetoric would put Facebook in a “difficult position,” according to a report in Axios.
The call added to a wider backroom effort by White House advisers to soften the President’s response to the violent riots. One White House adviser told Axios that he thought the President’s early, tough tweets about the riots, in which Trump said “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” were “stupid.”
The unnamed White House adviser and ultra-progressive Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg seem to be on the same page. According to Axios, Zuckerberg called the President on Friday to express “concerns about the tone and rhetoric” of Trump’s initial response to the riots.
- A number of people outside the White House weighed in over the course of the day. On Friday morning, Facebook raised concerns to the White House about Trump’s incendiary message and urged them to make a change even if it did not violate Facebook’s policies, according to a source familiar with the outreach.
- Later that day, Trump phoned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. During the call, Zuckerberg “expressed concerns about the tone and the rhetoric,” according to a source familiar with the call.
- Zuckerberg “didn’t make any specific requests,” the source said. A second source familiar with the call said the Facebook boss told Trump that he personally disagreed with the president’s incendiary rhetoric and that by using language like this, Trump was putting Facebook in a difficult position.
The backroom lobbying campaign was effective, as Trump later clarified his “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” comment.
In the days since, the riots have escalated, engulfing major cities across the entire nation. Historic buildings and war memorials in DC have been vandalized, including the historic St. Johns Episcopal Church. Fatalities have been reported, including black federal officer Patrick Underwood.
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Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.