Presidential candidate Cory Booker characterized his colleague and 2020 opponent Elizabeth Warren’s proposals to break up tech giants as “a Donald Trump thing to say" and called for a “president that's going to enforce antitrust laws.”
“I don’t think that a president should be running around pointing at companies and saying ‘breaking them up’ without any kind of process,” Booker, D-N.J., said in an interview Saturday on ABC News’ “This Week.”
Booker said that he believes instead of calling for companies like Facebook, Amazon and Google to be broken up, there should be a process to address corporate consolidation, declaring it a “massive problem in America.”
"It's about making sure that we have a system that works,” said Booker. “It’s not me and my own personal opinion about going after folks. That sounds more like a Donald Trump thing to say, like, 'I'm going to break up you guys, I’m gonna break' — no."
When asked by ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl if he “just compared Elizabeth Warren to Donald Trump,” Booker said, “I most certainly did not,” referring to the senator as “my friend.”
“Let her discuss and debate her positions,” Booker said.
In March, Warren, D-Mass., advocated for the breakup of big tech, a proposal that largely centers around promoting competitive markets with actions like “reversing illegal and anti-competitive tech mergers,” including Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods and Zappos and Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram.
She argued that "to restore the balance of power in our democracy, to promote competition and to ensure that the next generation of technology innovation is as vibrant as the last, it’s time to break up our biggest tech companies.”
Last week, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes’s New York Times op-ed also argued in favor of dismantling the social media giant, which he called “a powerful monopoly, eclipsing all of its rivals and erasing competition from the social networking category.”
“We are a nation with a tradition of reining in monopolies, no matter how well-intentioned the leaders of these companies may be,” wrote Hughes. “Mark’s power is unprecedented and un-American.”
“Because Facebook so dominates social networking, it faces no market-based accountability,” he continued. “This means that every time Facebook messes up, we repeat an exhausting pattern: first outrage, then disappointment and, finally, resignation.”
Last year Trump accused Google search results of being “rigged” against him and conservative news outlets. He also told reporters in an Oval Office press meeting that Google, Facebook and Twitter were “treading on very, very troubled territory” and advised that they “better be careful.”
Booker said that if elected he would “have a Justice Department that uses antitrust legislation to do the proper investigations and to hold industries accountable for corporate consolidation."
“I don’t care if it's Facebook, the pharma industry, even the agricultural industry,” he said. “We've had a problem in America with corporate consolidation that is having really ill effects.”
“It's driving out the independent family farmers,” Booker continued. “It’s driving up prescription drug costs. And in the realm of technology, we're seeing one or two companies controlling a significant amount of the online advertising."
But Booker made clear his stance on breaking up these companies: “We do not need a president that is going to use their own personal beliefs and tell you which companies we should break up. We need a president that's going to enforce antitrust laws in this country, and I will be that person."
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