Donald Trump is rewriting history.
At Wednesday’s GOP debate, Trump insisted he had never criticized Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who has forcefully supported giving immigration visas to high-skilled workers in a program known as H-1B.
“I was not at all critical of him,” Trump said during the third GOP presidential debate of the season. “I am all in favor of keeping these talented people here so they can go to work in Silicon Valley. I have not been at all critical of him.”
The problem? Trump slammed the tech exec on his own website.
In his own policy proposal on immigration, Trump outlines ways to incentivize U.S. tech companies to hire more Americans – a subtle jab at employers in Silicon Valley that pass over U.S. workers in favor of H-1B visa applicants.
“Mark Zuckerberg’s personal Senator, Marco Rubio, has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities,” Trump stated in his plan.
Still, on Wednesday, the celebrity real estate mogul refused to back down. CNBC host Becky Quick pressed: “Where did I read this and come up with this that you were …”
“… probably, I don’t know,” Trump interrupted to a mix of cheers and laughter in the Colorado crowd. “You people write this, so I don’t know …”
Quick initially apologized to Trump. But later in the debate, she asked Trump again, pointing out that she’s gotten her information from the candidate’s own website.
Once again, the celebrity real estate mogul spun in circles. “I’m in favor of people coming into the country legally,” Trump said.
Moderators also grilled Florida Sen. Marco Rubio on H-1B visas, which have been on the chopping block for a number of GOP presidential candidates. Rubio defended his support of increasing the number of visas available to high-skilled workers, emphasizing that Americans should be better trained for the positions.
“Before you hire anyone from abroad, you should have to advertise that job for 180 days,” he said. “You also have to prove that you would pay these people more than you would pay someone else so that you’re not undercutting it by bringing in cheap labor.”