President Donald Trump is defending Google, Facebook and other big tech companies he’s repeatedly railed against when it comes to France’s digital tax, a position that underscores how Trump’s policies on tech don’t always match his fiery, antagonistic rhetoric, The Hill reported.
Silicon Valley has applauded the Trump administration for condemning Europe’s efforts to tax the U.S. tech giants, but the situation has made for strange bedfellows as the President continues to galvanize his base by claiming companies like Facebook and Twitter are out to get him.
Some tech industry sources say it’s part of a long-standing dynamic: Trump lambasts the companies in public but his “America first” administration often defends them as valuable U.S. businesses, The Hill adds.
“There’s sometimes a delta between the rhetoric and the policy actions,” a tech industry source told The Hill. “But I’d say that’s probably true beyond just the tech industry. The relationship is probably better than people suspect.”
Democrats point to the tension as evidence that his feud with “Big Tech” is largely personal, rather than built around concerns about the corporations’ enormous power and influence.
“It’s not always clear what the President’s basis for criticism [of Big Tech] is,” Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) told reporters this week, saying it seems to come from “personal frustration” rather than concerns about the companies’ “market dominance or anticompetitive behavior.”
On Monday, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) proposed billions of dollars in tariffs to retaliate against France’s digital services tax, finding that it unfairly discriminates against U.S. tech companies like Amazon and Google. The French digital services tax will hit about 30 companies, most of which are based in the U.S.