Trump says Zuckerberg presidential run 'wouldn't be too frightening'

Trump says Zuckerberg presidential run 'wouldn't be too frightening'
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenators demand more details from Trump on intel watchdog firing Overnight Health Care: Trump steps up attack on WHO | Fauci says deaths could be lower than first projected | House panel warns federal stockpile of medical supplies depleted | Mnuchin, Schumer in talks over relief deal Trump says he'll look into small business loan program restricting casinos MORE on Wednesday said that a potential presidential run by Facebook's CEO "wouldn't be too frightening," while heaping praise on Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Americans with COVID-19 immunity may lead US back to work Hillicon Valley: Schiff presses intel chief on staff changes | Warren offers plan to secure elections | Twitter's Jack Dorsey to donate B to coronavirus fight | WhatsApp takes steps to counter virus misinformation WhatsApp limiting message forwarding in effort to stop coronavirus misinformation MORE and other Silicon Valley leaders.

Trump was asked about Facebook's decision to allow politicians to lie in advertisements on the platform in an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"I'd rather him just do whatever he's going to do," Trump said. "You know, he's done — he's done a hell of a job, when you think of it ... he's going to do what he has to do." 

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Trump then said he "heard [Zuckerberg] was going to run for president."

"That wouldn't be too frightening, I don't think," he continued. "But he does have that monster behind him."

Zuckerberg has been floated as a potential presidential candidate, but the Facebook executive has never publicly commented on reports suggesting that.

Facebook has been under intense criticism from Democrats and advocacy groups for its ad policies, including not fact checking political ads and allowing microtargeting, but the company reaffirmed that the social media platform will not change the policies earlier this month.

During the interview with CNBC, Trump also weighed in on pressure on Apple to unlock the phones of the Pensacola, Fla., shooter who authorities say was a terrorist. 

"I understand both sides of the argument," Trump said. "You're dealing with drug lords and you're dealing with terrorists, and if you're dealing with murderers, I don't care ... we have to find out what's going on."

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The Department of Justice, backed by Trump, has argued Apple's refusal to unlock phones from the Pensacola shooting, which killed three U.S. Navy sailors and injured eight more in early December, is kneecapping criminal investigations.

Trump earlier this month lashed out at Apple, tweeting that "[w]e are helping Apple all of the time on TRADE and so many other issues, and yet they refuse to unlock phones used by killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements."

The president raised similar arguments about assisting Apple on trade issues Wednesday after saying he likes the company "a lot."

Trump also praised Tesla CEO Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskTesla cutting pay of salaried employees, furloughing hourly employees How SpaceX is prospering in the year of the coronavirus pandemic Tesla offers ventilators free of cost to hospitals, Musk says MORE in the interview, saying "you have to give him credit" and calling him a "genius."

"I spoke to him very recently, and he's also doing the rockets. He likes rockets," Trump told CNBC.

"I was worried about him, because he's one of our great geniuses, and we have to protect our genius. You know, we have to protect Thomas Edison and we have to protect all of these people that — came up with originally the light bulb and — the wheel and all of these things. And he's one of our very smart people and we want to — we want to cherish those people."