Donald Trump’s lingering insecurity about his improbable 2016 election victory was on full display Monday when he tweeted about a debunked claim of voter manipulation at the hands of Google’s search algorithm.
The same day, Hillary Clinton clapped back against her onetime political rival in truly hilarious fashion, making us all remember why we wanted her to be president in the first place.
Let’s break down what happened.
In a Monday morning tweet, Trump cited a report that supposedly showed Google “manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes” for Clinton in the 2016 election. His assertion was likely based on the work of researcher Robert Epstein, who testified in a Senate hearing earlier this summer about what he referred to as the “Search Engine Manipulation Effect,” according to The Hill.
Epstein claimed that biased results from the world’s No. 1 search engine pushed millions of people to vote for the Democratic nominee. He published his conclusions in a 2017 paper co-authored by psychologist Ronald Robertson, USA Today reported.
Wow, Report Just Out! Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election! This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump Supporter! Google should be sued. My victory was even bigger than thought! @JudicialWatch— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2019
Unsurprisingly, though, Epstein’s “research” has been thoroughly disproven since he first posited the theory in 2016. In addition, other experts have since shown that Google’s search and autocomplete algorithms actually had a right-wing bias during that time and probably skewed voters toward Trump in the weeks leading up to Election Day.
Despite this, the president called for Google to be sued and declared his victory “was even bigger than thought.”
Of course, Trump has never really shown himself to be an arbiter of truth, seeing that he’s made over 12,000 false or misleading claims during his presidency, according to The Washington Post.
Hours after his tweet Monday, Clinton — who, if you’ll remember, received nearly 3 million more votes than Trump in 2016 — pointed out that the study Trump was referring to “was based on 21 undecided voters,” hardly a large enough sample size to draw any meaningful conclusions.
But it was Clinton’s next statement that will be remembered as one of her best Twitter clap backs so far.
The debunked study you’re referring to was based on 21 undecided voters. For context that’s about half the number of people associated with your campaign who have been indicted. https://t.co/0zHnWvGjSv— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 19, 2019
Twitter immediately responded with an outpouring of admiration for Clinton’s latest zinger aimed at Trump.
I love you, Madam Legitimate President.— Lily (@LilyTigerRules) August 19, 2019
Oh, Shit!! Hillary is not playing today. pic.twitter.com/4cfQv3a43J— Danny (@danzu72) August 19, 2019
Drive by shade. I love it. pic.twitter.com/xL7FKLJIM0— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) August 19, 2019
Clinton wasn’t the only one to respond to Trump’s baseless accusations of wrongdoing on Google’s part. A company spokesperson reiterated Monday that Epstein’s research “has been debunked since it was made in 2016.”
“As we stated then, we have never re-ranked or altered search results to manipulate political sentiment,” the spokesperson said. “Our goal is to always provide people with access to high quality, relevant information for their queries, without regard to political viewpoint.”
Regardless of Google’s inherent bias in claiming it did no wrong, one thing’s for sure: Trump’s massive ego means he’s unlikely to ever admit he lost the popular vote — or that Clinton is really the one who should be taking up residence in the White House.
Keep slaying, Madame Speaker. We’re still with you.