On Tuesday, a House Judiciary Committee hearing had an unintentionally comedic moment. Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, was being targeted with a variety of difficult questions, but one inquiry by Rep. Steve King of Iowa couldn’t have been addressed by Pichai even if he wanted to participate in the proceedings fully.
During the hearing, King began discussing an experience his 7-year-old granddaughter had while using a smartphone prior to an election – likely the November 2018 midterms as King was running for reelection at the time.
While playing a game on a smartphone, King’s granddaughter saw a picture of the congressman that also featured some less than flattering language.
“She’s playing a little game a kid would play,” King stated while holding up an iPhone, “and up on there pops a picture of her grandfather.”
“I’m not going to say into the record what kind of language was used around that picture of her grandfather,” added King.
Then, the congressman asked Pichai, “How does that show up on a 7-year-old’s iPhone who’s playing a kids game?”
Google’s CEO only had one logical response, leading him to reply, “Congressman, iPhone is made by a different company.”
After Pichai’s answer, according to a report by Business Insider, the Democratic staff table broke out into laughter.
King then attempted to backtrack, stating, “It might have been an Android. It’s just… it was a hand-me-down of some kind.”
Pichai tried to offer a more thorough response at that point but struggled to provide a more detailed reply, potentially due to the nature of the original question. He did add that he “would be happy to follow up” after learning the specifics.
The Iowa congressman wasn’t the only one who brandished an iPhone will addressing Pichai during the hearing.
Texas Rep. Ted Poe also presented his Apple device while asking Pichai questions regarding whether Google tracked location data on users’ phones. Pennsylvania Rep. Tom Marino similarly held up an iPhone when discussing Pichai’s responsibility because “there’s a lot of people who believe anything that’s put out, by anyone.”
Rep. Steve King: "How does that show up on a 7-year old's iPhone who's playing a kid's game?"
Google CEO Sundar Pichai: ""Congressman, iPhone is made by a different company…"
— CSPAN (@cspan) December 11, 2018