Trump's newfound opposition to a TikTok ban isn't swaying Republicans

Trending 2 months ago

WASHINGTON — Former President Trump reversed people and now opposes a ban connected societal media elephantine TikTok. But his caller stance — and a full-court property from TikTok and its millions of users — isn’t swaying his chap Republicans connected Capitol Hill.

House GOP leaders are charging up pinch a ballot Wednesday connected legislation that would prohibition TikTok from U.S. app stores unless its genitor company, China-based ByteDance, agrees to divest nan celebrated video-based video app.

And moreover immoderate of Trump’s blimpish friends successful Congress said they person nary problem calling retired their party's presumptive nominee for president complete his newfound position connected TikTok.

“Well, he’s wrong. And by nan way, he had his own executive orders and his ain actions he was doing, and now … he’s abruptly flipped astir connected that,” said Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, a personnel of nan far-right Freedom Caucus. "I mean, it’s not nan first aliases past clip that I’ll disagree pinch nan erstwhile president. The TikTok rumor is beautiful straightforward.”

“I person respect and admiration for President Trump,” added Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., different Trump backer. “Nobody controls really I ballot connected definite issues.”

The Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act — co-authored by nan leaders of nan prime committee investigating nan Chinese Communist Party, Reps. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., and Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill. — received a boost of momentum past week erstwhile it cleared nan Energy and Commerce Committee connected a uncommon 50-0 vote. President Joe Biden has endorsed nan bill.

"TikTok will person to make a prime arsenic to whether aliases not they enactment connected to ByteDance and yet controlled by nan Chinese Communist Party, aliases if they take to waste and run successful nan United States," said Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., who shepherded nan measure done her committee.

It’s expected to sail done nan House connected Wednesday, though it faces a much uncertain roadworthy successful nan Senate, wherever leaders opportunity they are still evaluating nan legislation.

FBI Director Christopher Wray, and lawmakers successful some parties, opportunity they position TikTok arsenic a nationalist information threat. Specifically, they are concerned that nan Chinese authorities could usage TikTok to entree individual information from its more than 150 cardinal users and usage algorithms to show them videos that could power their views connected issues, including nan upcoming statesmanlike election.

This measure is “divestment from nan Communist Party of China; it’s beautiful simple,” said Diaz-Balart, whose family fled from Cuba aft Fidel Castro’s takeover. “We would person ne'er accepted nan Communist Party of China aliases nan Soviet Union aliases wherever controlling, owning NBC aliases CBS.”

National information officials will clasp a classified briefing for each House members Tuesday day focused connected nan threats from TikTok. Appearing connected CNBC's "Squawk Box" this week, Trump, too, said he agreed TikTok is simply a superior nationalist information threat, but he said he could not backmost banning nan app because doing truthful would thief rival Facebook, which he called nan “enemy of nan people.”

Testifying earlier Congress, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew has denied that nan Chinese authorities controls nan app and pushed backmost against suggestions that China accesses U.S. personification data.

With its backmost against nan wall, TikTok is mobilizing its millions of users to effort to unit lawmakers to reason nan bill. The societal media behemoth deployed a pop-up connected its app directing users to telephone their representatives, which overwhelmed Congressional offices last week. The in-app messages continued Tuesday, pinch 1 saying nan “government will return distant nan organization that you and millions of different Americans love.”

Gallagher and Krishnamoorthi sent a letter to Shou to “demand that TikTok extremity spreading mendacious claims successful its run to manipulate and mobilize American citizens connected behalf of nan Chinese Communist Party.” In a letter, TikTok responded by saying it has “been clear each on that [Congress'] existent extremity is to prohibition TikTok successful nan United States.” 

TikTok creators are connected nan Hill Tuesday lobbying House and Senate members “about nan economical effect of a prohibition connected their livelihoods,” according to a root acquainted pinch nan matter.

Shou will meet pinch senators connected Wednesday and Thursday arsenic nan conflict shifts to nan precocious chamber.

Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla., different Trump acolyte, said she saw Trump's connection connected TikTok and is "taking that into account." But she added that nan U.S. is now astatine a vulnerable crossroads pinch China.

"And this app has nan imaginable of being a wide surveillance instrumentality against American people. So it’s each astir group utilizing societal media," said Luna, a erstwhile Air Force seasoned and Instagram influencer. "You guys cognize that my inheritance was from being an influencer into Congress. And truthful evidently taking that into account, but we can’t person thing that’s enabling our overseas adversaries."

Scott Wong

Scott Wong is simply a elder legislature newsman for NBC News.

Kyle Stewart

Kyle Stewart is an subordinate shaper covering Congress for NBC News.

Sahil Kapur

,

Kate Santaliz

,

Ryan Nobles

and

Frank Thorp V

contributed

.