Elizabeth Warren owes America’s titans of industry a favor — after all, they keep writing her campaign ads for her. In two hours of leaked audio released by The Verge on Tuesday morning, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg rails against the Massachusetts senator and progressive presidential candidate, who has promised to break up his company, along with other tech giants like Amazon and Google.
"You have someone like Elizabeth Warren who thinks that the right answer is to break up the companies,” Zuckerberg said in the leaked audio, which came from a Q&A between the founder and his employees. “If she gets elected president, then I would bet that we will have a legal challenge, and I would bet that we will win the legal challenge. And does that still suck for us? Yeah.”
He continued: “I don’t want to have a major lawsuit against our own government. But look, at the end of the day, if someone’s going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and you fight."
Introducing her plan to dismantle tech giants in March, Warren wrote that “as these companies have grown larger and more powerful, they have used their resources and control over the way we use the internet to squash small businesses and innovation, and substitute their own financial interests for the broader interests of the American people.”
On Tuesday, Warren responded to Zuckerberg’s comments on Twitter. “What would really ‘suck,’” the 2020 hopeful wrote, “is if we don’t fix a corrupt system that lets giant companies like Facebook engage in illegal anticompetitive practices, stomp on consumer privacy rights, and repeatedly fumble their responsibility to protect our democracy.”
Zuckerberg responded to the kerfuffle later Tuesday, saying that the comments came during a Q&A session "a few months ago." He did not back off his statements, instead confirming that the leak offers "an unfiltered version of what I'm thinking and telling employees."
This latest example of corporate Warren-phobia comes on the heels of a segment of the CNBC financial talk show Mad Money last month, in which host Jim Cramer described “terrified” Wall Street executives saying that Warren’s candidacy has “got to be stopped.” Big money executives, it seems, are taking Warren’s campaign promises just as seriously as she is.
Warren has enjoyed a late-summer/early-fall surge in the 2020 polls, and she now finds herself overtaking her closest ideological competitor Sen. Bernie Sanders and solidly in second place behind Vice President Joe Biden in the Democratic presidential race. Her signature campaign promise has been a pledge to raise taxes on the wealthy to the tune of two cents on every dollar made over $50 million.
After it aired, Warren quote-tweeted the Cramer segment, writing, “I’m Elizabeth Warren and I approve this message.”