By touting Cambridge Analytica's work on his campaign, Trump tightens his bond to growing scandal.
Using Twitter on Thursday morning, Trump broke his silence on the embattled data analysis firm at the center of an international campaign scandal, appearing to gloat about how Cambridge Analytica helped him secure a narrow electoral victory in 2016, while losing the popular vote.
"Remember when they were saying, during the campaign, that Donald Trump is giving great speeches and drawing big crowds, but he is spending much less money and not using social media as well as Crooked Hillary's large and highly sophisticated staff. Well, not saying that anymore!" Trump tweeted, in what appeared to be his comment on the scandal.
Still smarting about not getting enough credit for his 2016 win, Trump looked willing to strengthen his association with a firm accused of illegal activity — in order to stroke his own ego.
The Trump boast comes amid a series of explosive reports detailing Cambridge Analytica’s involvement in potentially illegal activity, including harvesting Facebook data from more than 50 million Americans, and then using it — without their knowledge or consent — to help the Trump campaign.
Also this week, London’s Channel 4 aired an undercover expose, in which top executives at Cambridge Analytica were caught admitting that they use bribes and sex workers to entrap politicians. In the video, Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix described how the firm uses shadowy front companies, fake IDs, and subcontractors to operate secretly in elections across the world.
Previously, it was reported that Cambridge Analytica’s CEO had reached out to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in an effort to obtain Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails.
Not surprisingly, special counsel Robert Mueller's team has been zeroing in on the controversial firm, according to a recent ABC News report.
The Trump campaign hired Cambridge Analytica in June 2016. Jared Kushner, who was in charge of overseeing then-candidate Trump’s digital operations, brought the data firm into the campaign — a decision that was reportedly cheered on by Steve Bannon, a former vice president of Cambridge Analytica.
By August of 2016, 13 full-time Cambridge Analytica employees were working for Trump's campaign.
"We found that Facebook and digital targeting were the most effective ways to reach the audiences. After the primary, we started ramping up because we knew that doing a national campaign is different than doing a primary campaign," Kushner told Forbes magazine just after the election. "That was when we formalized the system because we had to ramp up for digital fundraising. We brought in Cambridge Analytica."
As the burgeoning scandal unfolds, Trump may regret hugging the company so tight.