April 15, 2024

Donald Trump called into CNBC’s Squawk Box on Monday where he talked about crypto, tried to defend his complete 180 on a TikTok ban, and promoted his new sneakers. The former president also railed against Facebook, calling it the “enemy of the people.” But there’s one thing Trump didn’t mention about Facebook: He’s still buying ads on the social media platform.

“I consider Facebook to be an enemy of the people, along with a lot of the media,” Trump said on the show Monday

Trump is still spending plenty of money on Facebook ads, according to Facebook’s Ad Library, an online tool that allows anyone to see how political ads are being shown on the platform. Facebook launched the Ad Library in 2019 after the site received criticism about a lack of transparency on how political campaigns were trying to influence voters online.

Trump’s recent Facebook ads include promotions for his rally in Georgia, a fundraising celebration of his recent win at the Supreme Court to appear on the ballot in Colorado, and a video that tells Facebook users they have a chance to win a flag Trump once hugged, provided they make a donation to his campaign.

Screenshot of a video ad currently running on Facebook showing Trump groping an American flag and offering campaign contributors the chance to win it.

Screenshot of a video ad currently running on Facebook showing Trump groping an American flag and offering campaign contributors the chance to win it.
Screenshot: Facebook Ad Library

Trump rambled on during his appearance on CNBC. He complained about Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg by spouting a false conspiracy theory about ballot drop boxes that were incredibly common in the 2020 presidential election during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What Facebook did with lockboxes… with a $500 million Zucker-bucks, uh, lockboxes that he put in. I mean, I consider it illegal…” Trump said trailing off.

The “lockboxes” seemingly refer to an initiative from the Center for Tech and Civic Life, a nonprofit that received $350 million from Mark Zuckerberg, according to NPR. That money helped local governments by funding various tools to help administer elections during the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, including buying PPE for poll workers and installing ballot boxes that allowed mail-in voters to drop off their ballots.

Trump stuttered and repeated himself while talking about his conspiracy theory on Monday, which only seems notable because the former president ridiculed President Joe Biden for precisely that kind of rhetorical stumbling over the weekend.

“But, you know, they… you know they put people in jail when they spend… they put people in jail when they spend more than $5,600 in a campaign, they go to jail if they’re $200… Look at Dinesh D’Souza. They put them in jail over a couple of hundred bucks. And yet here’s the guy spends $500 million and he doesn’t go to jail. Very interesting,” Trump continued.

D’Souza directed a 2022 “documentary” called 200 Mules that purported to show fraud in the 2020 election but has been thoroughly debunked both in and out of court. D’Souza was charged in 2014 with making illegal campaign contributions of $20,000 in the names of other people and lying about it to the FTC. D’Souza pled guilty but was pardoned by Trump in 2018.

Former President Donald Trump: I consider Facebook to be an enemy of the people

CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin also rattled off Trump’s past comments on TikTok during his interview on Monday, pointing out the former president had a very different view of TikTok while he was in office. Trump made a complete reversal on TikTok late last week, leading many people to ask if it had anything to do with Trump’s relationship with Republican mega-donor Jeff Yass, a billionaire with an enormous investment in ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company.

“Mr. President, though, is TikTok… do you believe that TikTok is a national security threat or not? Because if it is, and I believe that your the emergency powers order that you had put in place at the time suggested that it was, was that not true?” Sorkin asked, referring to the executive order signed by Trump.

Trump deflected, again attempting to turn the focus of the interview onto Facebook.

“I do believe that. I do believe it,” Trump responded. “And we have to very much go into privacy and make sure that we are protecting the American people’s privacy and data rights. And I agree. But, you know, we also have that problem with other… You have that problem with Facebook and lots of other companies too. I mean, they get the information, they get plenty of information, and they deal with China, and they’ll do whatever China wants.”

The executive order signed by Trump was challenged in the courts and Biden canceled the EO in the name of conducting his administration’s own security review. Biden has come out in support of a TikTok ban if there isn’t a divestment by ByteDance, which has ownership in China.

Trump tried to rewrite the very public history of his push to ban TikTok. But it will be very interesting to see if the Trump campaign decides to stop advertising on Facebook as we get closer to the 2024 election this November. So far, Trump is still spending, and asking for donations.

“I’m humbly asking if you can chip in $5, $10, or even $25?” Trump’s latest ad reads. “With your donation, we will win back the White House and Make America Great Again.”

A version of this article originally appeared on Gizmodo.

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