In an interview Monday, Larry Kudlow — President Trump’s new director of the National Economic Council — responded to a question about regulating Facebook by mocking its founder’s penchant for casual dress.
This week, Mark Zuckerberg will testify on Capitol Hill about the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which as many as 87 million Facebook users’ info was harvested and then used to help the Trump campaign micro-target voters. But when a reporter asked Kudlow whether the White House supports regulating Facebook users understand the source of ads they see, Kudlow simply mocked Zuckerberg.
“Is he going to wear a suit and tie and clean white shirt? That’s my biggest question,” Kudlow quipped. “Is he going to behave like an adult — as a major corporate leader — or give me this phony-baloney — what is it? — hoodies and dungarees…?”
When the report followed up by confirming that Kudlow doesn’t think too highly of Zuckerberg, he responded, “I think I could help him clean up his act.”
This was the second time in as many days that Kudlow responded to questions about Facebook by simply disparaging Zuckerberg. On Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace similarly asked Kudlow whether Trump supports regulating Facebook. Kudlow didn’t immediately answer, saying simply that Trump would watch the hearings, but then going after Zuckerberg.
“I hope he comes to Congress wearing a nice business suit and shirt and tie, so he will be taken more seriously,” Kudlow said. “I’m tired of that t-shirt, hoody stuff. The guy’s running one of the largest corporations of the world, for heaven’s sakes.”
When pressed again about the White House’s position on regulating Facebook, Kudlow simply responded, “We are waiting on Congress. Let’s see what comes out of that before the administration takes any particular action.”
Back in March, the White House said it supported Congress investigating the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah vaguely said, “The president believes that Americans’ privacy should be protected.” He did not elaborate on whether the administration supports any type of regulation to make that happen.
At Monday’s press briefing, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to yet another question about regulating Facebook saying, “We don’t have a specific policy announcement on that front, but I think we’re all looking forward to that testimony today.” When asked about Kudlow’s criticisms, Sanders said she hadn’t talked to Trump about his personal opinions on Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg will testify on both Tuesday and Wednesday.