Breitbart News, a conservative news site known for its incestuous relationship with the Trump administration, has leaked an hour-long video showing Google’s first all-hands meeting following the November 2016 presidential election in the United States. The video shows Google executives making little effort to strike a neutral tone about the election results.
“As an immigrant, a refugee, I certainly find this election deeply offensive, and I know many of you do too,” said Sergey Brin, Google’s cofounder and now president of parent company Alphabet. He said that the election result shows that “so many people apparently don’t share many of the values that we have.”
Google Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat, an avowed Hillary Clinton supporter, described the result as a “massive kick in the gut.” She vowed that Google would “use the great strength and resources and reach we have to continue to advance really important values”—values, presumably, that were not shared by Donald Trump.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai took a more measured tone. “We are in a democratic system,” he said. He compared the result to elections in his own native India, which experienced “many scary moments” in its democratic process, but Pichai argued that ultimately democracy “tends to work out.”
Google’s HR chief emphasized that while Google “leans largely liberal and Democratic,” the company’s commitment to diversity includes a diversity of thought. “Diversity also means diversity of opinion and political persuasion,” she said. “We value and welcome perspectives from all sides of the political spectrum.”
On one level, the revelation that Google executives were dismayed by the 2016 election is completely unsurprising. Google had a famously cozy relationship with the Obama administration. The Obama administration hired several Google veterans to senior positions. In 2016, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt openly supported Hillary Clinton and helped the campaign build its technology infrastructure. And it’s no secret that Silicon Valley technology professionals—at Google and elsewhere—lean to the left.
Still, having Google’s most senior executives on tape openly decrying the election of President Trump will inevitably fuel conservative suspicions of the technology giant.
Last week, several Republican senators blasted Google for refusing to send co-founder Larry Page or CEO Sundar Pichai to testify before Congress about foreign governments’ use of social media to meddle in US elections. And Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reportedly considering opening an investigation into anticompetitive conduct by Google and other technology giants.