President Donald Trump said the U.S. could benefit from some of the cash windfall European regulators are getting from lawsuits with major technology companies.
He pointed to the European Union’s probes into tech giants and said “they’re great companies” but “something’s going on” when it comes to their concentrated power.
Trump said that as a byproduct of the fines, the EU gets “all this money — we should be doing that.”
The European Commission has slapped a combined $9.5 billion in antitrust fines against Google since 2017. Facebook, has been subject to probes across the EU since a strict new set of privacy rules called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect last year. U.S. regulators and lawmakers have also increased efforts domestically to reign in big tech companies.
The president said European regulators think of the lawsuits as “easy money” where they’ll “sue Apple for $7 billion and win the case.”
“I think it’s a bad situation, obviously,” Trump said. “But I think there is something going on in terms of monopoly.”
Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon have come under pressure from both sides of the political aisle heading into the 2020 presidential election. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been arguably the most vocal presidential candidate on the issue, and in March unveiled the clearest proposal from a Democrat yet to limit the growth of Silicon Valley. Her campaign sponsored a billboard in San Francisco that in all capital letters, said “Break Up Big Tech.” Trump has also repeatedly criticized Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and argued that social media platforms look to silence conservative pundits.
Still, the president said the U.S. attorney general will take a different approach with these companies than his European counterparts.
“We have a great attorney general, we’ll look at them differently,” Trump said.
— CNBC’S Elizabeth Schulze contributed reporting.