Trump Says Google Is Committed to US Not Chinese Military

March 27, 2019 Updated: March 27, 2019

WASHINGTON—Amid growing concern about the risks of Google and other U.S. companies doing business in China, President Donald Trump said on March 27 that the CEO of Google has “strongly stated” that he is “totally committed” to the American, not Chinese, military.

Earlier this month, Trump accused Google in a tweet of “helping China and their military, but not the U.S.”

“He stated strongly that he is totally committed to the U.S. Military, not the Chinese Military,” Trump said on Twitter of his meeting with Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

“Also discussed political fairness and various things that @Google can do for our Country. Meeting ended very well!” Trump said.

“We were pleased to have productive conversations with the President about investing in the future of the American workforce, the growth of emerging technologies and our ongoing commitment to working with the U.S. government,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

“We are not working with the Chinese military. We are working with the U.S. government, including the Department of Defense, in many areas including cybersecurity, recruiting and healthcare.”

Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks on stage
Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks on stage during a keynote address announcing Google’s new cloud gaming service, Stadia, at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Calif., on March 19, 2019. (Stephen Lam/Reuters)

Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Google’s artificial intelligence venture in China and other U.S. companies’ business in the country indirectly benefit the Chinese military and create a challenge for the United States as it seeks to maintain a competitive advantage.

Dunford’s comments reflect U.S. worries that any information an American company has or uses in China is automatically available to the Chinese government and its military.

Trump’s tweet accusing Google of helping China came just two days after acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told senators at a hearing that while he hasn’t heard the tech giant say the word “refuse,” Google has expressed a “lack of willingness to support” Defense Department programs.

Shanahan told senators that $5 trillion of China’s economy comprises state-owned enterprises and technology developed in the civilian world there transfers to the military sector.

“It’s a direct pipeline,” he said. “Not only is there a transfer, there’s also systemic theft of U.S. technology that also facilitates even faster development of emerging technology.”

Pichai has said Google has invested in China for years and plans to continue to do so.

In a tweet last week, Trump accused social media platforms Facebook, Google’s YouTube and Twitter of favoring his Democratic opponents over him and his fellow Republicans and said he would look into the issue.

“It seems to be if they’re conservative, if they’re Republicans, if they’re in a certain group, there’s discrimination, and big discrimination, and I see it absolutely on Twitter and Facebook … and others,” Trump said at a joint White House news conference with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on March 19.

“We use the word ‘collusion’ very loosely all the time, and I will tell you there is collusion with respect to that because something has to be going on,” Trump said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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