The CEO of Cybereason said he and his company accept the results of the 2020 presidential election after one of their investors, Steven Mnuchin, declined to acknowledge that ex-President Donald Trump was spreading a lie about the contest being rigged.
In an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Wednesday morning, Mnuchin was asked several times to acknowledge that Trump was lying about the 2020 election. Each time, he dodged the question, attempting to change the subject to his firm’s investment in the Israeli cybersecurity company.
“I’m focused on our investments, our business going forward,” Mnuchin said. He said he stayed out of the 2020 campaign and its aftermath.
After he was asked about Trump’s election lie a final time, he said he believed American democracy is working – and that he hopes Trump will think about running again.
“We have a great democracy. It’s working. It worked. I hope the president [Trump] considers running again down the road,” said Mnuchin, a wealthy businessman, investor and film financier.
Trump has continued to push what has become known as “the Big Lie” in statements to the media and in interviews with sympathetic television hosts, such as Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo.
The House of Representatives, including several Republican members, voted to impeach Trump for stoking the deadly Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill, which followed a “Stop the Steal” rally the then president headlined. The pro-Trump invaders – some of whom chanted “Hang Mike Pence,” who was vice president – delayed congressional confirmation of Joe Biden’s election victory by several hours.
The Senate acquitted Trump after he left office, although several GOP senators voted to convict.
Mnuchin was joined for the interview on “Squawk Box” by Cybereason CEO Lior Div, announcing that the former Treasury secretary’s new private equity firm is leading a $275 million investment in the company.
Div suggested in a follow-up statement to CNBC that Mnuchin’s answers were being misconstrued, and that his position would have no bearing on the company’s business relationship with the former Treasury secretary’s firm, Liberty Strategic Capital.
“Respectfully, I do not think that is what the Secretary said and, regardless, it certainly has no bearing on his relationship with Cybereason,” Div said in a statement provided to CNBC by a company spokesman on Wednesday.
“We have no political motivations and have chosen to work with Liberty because of their massive network and the understanding of the financial and government markets that Secretary Mnuchin and General Dunford bring to Cybereason. For example, the executive order issued by the Biden administration has accelerated the importance of EDR solutions like ours in the public market, and Liberty has the relationships to help accelerate our go-to-market strategy in the federal sector.”
A spokesman for Cybereason initially did not return requests for additional comment before publication.
After publication, the spokesman sent another comment from Div, in which he said the company backs the outcome of the 2020 election and President Biden’s administration.
“Cybereason supports the 2020 election results and the Biden administration. Our connection to Liberty is not political, it is a strategic partnership designed to help us further penetrate key markets, including the government,” Div said. “Both Secretary Mnuchin and General Dunford (appointed by [President] Obama to his Joint Chiefs of Staff) are part of Liberty Strategic Capital. Secretary Mnuchin will join our Board of Directors and General Dunford is joining our Advisory Board.”
Div himself also supports the 2020 election results and the new Biden administration, a spokeswoman told CNBC.
The incident is the latest example of how companies consider whether they should be speaking out on political issues, particularly if it pertains to their investors and employees.
After voting laws that have been deemed restrictive by critics were passed in Georgia, corporations felt pressured to respond. Several did, including Major League Baseball, which moved its All-Star Game from Georgia to Colorado.
In a recent example of the pressure, Toyota halted giving campaign contributions to Republican lawmakers who challenged the results of the election.