Mark Zuckerberg’s tour of the Midwest has left many in the news media wondering if he’s just testing the political waters or if he is, as Bob Beckell of Fox News’ “The Five” puts it, “…going to launch something bigger — like a run for the presidency.”
Zuckerberg’s personal challenge “to have visited and met people in every state in the US by the end of the year” had tongues wagging on Monday after the Facebook founder met with South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg and had dinner with “Trump Democrats” in Ohio.
“He has many wondering if he’s going to be launching something even bigger — a run for the presidency,” Beckell asked his cohosts Monday night on “The Five,” explaining that Zuckerberg has visited states that Trump won in November and “even had dinner with a family of Democrats who switched sides to vote for Mr. Trump.”
Beckell’s colleague Jesse Watters laughed off the possibility. “It’s a lot harder to get votes in November than likes on Facebook.”
But Peter Alexander of NBC’s “Today” reports that not only did Zuckerberg ask his staff last November to find Democrats who voted for Donald Trump, there is a paper trail that adds to the theory that the young billionaire has political aspirations.
“The first sign, this line buried in last year’s SEC filing by Facebook that read ‘…Mr. Zuckerberg’s leave of absence or resignation would not constitute a voluntary resignation if it were in connection with his service in a government position of office,'” Alexander reported.
In 2014, asked if he had plans to run for president, Zuckerberg simply said, no. But those who have spoken to him during his U.S. tour have painted a different picture.
“This really didn’t feel like a political visit,” Mayor Buttigieg told “Today.” “We certainly weren’t talking about politics. We were talking about community; we were talking about jobs and the economy.” (Maybe not specifically “politics,” but rather “issues.”)
The Moore family, who hosted that surprise dinner in Ohio, had their own thoughts on the matter. “The more he talked, the more I liked him and the more I was inspired by him,” said Daniel Moore. Lisa Moore, added, “I doubt that he would run but, if he did, I would vote for him… because I trust him.”
Zuckerberg has never made it clear on which side of the political aisle he sits. In 2013, he hosted a fundraiser for New Jersey’s Republican governor, Chris Christie, but later that same year, he hosted one for Newark’s Democrat mayor Cory Booker. Since then, Zuckerberg has showed interest in education reform, Muslim rights, Black Lives Matter and the LGBTQ community.