Trump flip flops on House TikTok ban, pulling rug from under Republican allies

Former President Donald Trump is flip-flopping on banning TikTok, pulling the rug from under Republican congressional allies pushing legislation that would force the popular Chinese-owned app to be sold.

Trump Monday reversed his previous strong support for a GOP-backed bill that gives the app’s Chinese owner a few months to sell it or be shut down.

“There’s a lot of good, and there’s a lot of bad” with TikTok, Trump said on CNBC. “There are a lot of people on TikTok that love it. There are a lot of young kids on TikTok who will go crazy without it.”

Trump conceded that TikTok is a national security risk because the Chinese government could force the app’s owner ByteDance hand over data from U.S. users.

But the presumptive Republican presidential nominee sought to change the subject to Facebook, which he claims would benefit from a ban of TikTok.

“Without TikTok, you can make Facebook bigger, and I consider Facebook to be an enemy of the people,” Trump added.

Trump had vociferously supported a proposal to force a sale of TikTok while he was president.

Congressional Republicans are now pushing the bill, which has won widespread bipartisan support. And President Joe Biden last week came out in support of the measure.

It’s unclear what may have spurred Trump to change his tune on TikTok, although the app appears to be a hotbed of MAGA propaganda videos.

He admits recently meeting at his Mar-a-Lago estate with a Republican hedge fund owner who holds a massive stake in TikTok but denies discussing the app.

That was his reason for torpedoing a bipartisan border security proposal that included many GOP policy priorities.

Trump’s pushback puts him on the opposite side of the debate of powerful congressional Republicans, including House Speaker Mike Johnson and Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who has called the legislation a “critical national security bill.”

For now, Republicans are backing the ban with the House preparing to approve it using a procedure that will require a two-thirds vote.

“We must ensure the Chinese government cannot weaponize TikTok against American users and our government through data collection and propaganda,” Scalise said in his weekly preview of upcoming legislation.

The FBI has warned that TikTok’s owner could share user data like browsing history, location and biometric identifiers with China’s authoritarian government.

Biden banned the use of TikTok in 2022 for nearly 4 million federal employees on devices owned by its agencies.

But in a sign of the app’s popularity with young people, Biden’s reelection campaign recently joined the app and started posting content on it.

If enacted, the bill would effectively ban TikTok and other ByteDance apps from being available in Apple or Google app stores or on web hosting services in the U.S.