President Donald Trump considers Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg a threat to his re-election campaign in 2020, Politico reported Monday.
Zuckerberg is on a list of potential 2020 Democratic challengers whom Trump is watching, while the president also reportedly is keeping an eye on Republican challengers such as Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio.
The White House has pushed back against Facebook’s criticism of the administration, even reportedly considering the idea of regulating Internet companies as a public utility, which would give the government greater control over them.
Speculation about Zuckerberg’s presidential aspirations have increased since he announced he would visit all 50 states this year, meeting community leaders in each one, which is what presidential hopefuls often do before announcing their candidacies, The Hill reported.
Another sign of his intentions was when in May 2016, Facebook created a class of company shares that would let Zuckerberg retain control of the company even if he were “serving in a government position or office.”
He also has continued to fuel speculation by releasing posts advocating for political positions and by giving a commencement speech at Harvard in which he elaborated on numerous political issues.
However, a Facebook spokesperson denied those intentions, pointing out Zuckerberg has said “multiple times he’s not running.”
Zuckerberg most recently denied his interest in a 2020 bid for the presidency in May, saying the reason for his nationwide tour was not in order to seek public office, but “to get a broader perspective to make sure we’re best serving our community of almost 2 billion people at Facebook and doing the best work to promote equal opportunity at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.”