By Lalit K Jha
Washington, Sep 22 (PTI) US President Donald Trump has threatened to “cut off” TikTok if the popular Chinese video sharing app’s tentative deal with two American companies Walmart and Oracle does not go through.
Trump has for weeks threatened to ban TikTok, which is owned by China's ByteDance, on national security grounds unless an American company takes control of its US operations. TikTok has roughly 100 million users in the US, and Trump says the app gives China access to the personal data of Americans.
Trump’s latest remark came a day after he announced a possible deal between Oracle and Walmart to share the US operations of TikTok, which was placed on a ban list due to security concerns.
“That’s working its way through. I’ve given a preliminary okay,” the president told reporters at the White House on Monday
“They will work -- they’re two great companies -- Oracle and Walmart. (Oracle CEO) Larry Ellison is a great genius at that kind of thing. The technology is incredible.
“So if we can save it, we’ll save it. And if we can’t, we’ll cut it off. But they have (a) preliminary (deal). We’ll see what they can do. We have to have total security. That’s the only thing -- very important. We have to have total security,” Trump said in response to a question.
Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy praised Trump for his move on TikTok.
“He is standing up and keeping us safer by not allowing China to spy on Americans through their devices of TikTok and others, keeping the ability of Americans to use it, but keeping you safe,” he told Fox News.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that the US is working through the deal.
“But rest assured… that this president is putting the safety of the American people first. The Chinese Communist Party having access to the data of millions of Americans is not a tenable situation. But I'll leave it to him to announce exactly what that deal looks like,” she said.
The proposed deal of TikTok with Oracle and Walmart mandates the creation of a new American company -- incorporated in Texas -- and the prospect of 25,000 new jobs. Further, TikTok will give USD 5 billion to fund the education of American youths.
The US last week issued orders to ban popular Chinese social media apps - TikTok and WeChat - to safeguard national security. The ban on downloading TikTok, originally scheduled to take effect on Sunday, was postponed to September 27, according to the US Department of Commerce.
Last month, President Trump signed an executive order to ban TikTok and WeChat by September 15 unless the ownership of the two Chinese companies changed to American.
TikTok made its debut in the US in 2018 and sees American traffic of more than 100 million users each month. PTI LKJ CPS AKJ CPS