Donald Trump Slams Joe Biden Over TikTok Ban That Trump Backed As President

Former President Donald Trump said Monday that young voters should blame President Joe Biden if the U.S. government bans the popular social media app TikTok, even though Trump supported such a ban when he was president. 

Congress is on the verge of passing a bill that would require TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, to sell TikTok in less than a year or else see the video-sharing platform banned from U.S. app stores. Biden supports the policy and has said he would sign the bill into law. 

“Just so everyone knows, especially the young people, Crooked Joe Biden is responsible for banning TikTok,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform. “He is the one pushing it to close, and doing it to help his friends over at Facebook become richer and more dominant, and able to continue to fight, perhaps illegally, the Republican Party.” 

Trump’s statement slamming Biden for the TikTok ban is a remarkable reversal for the former president, who issued an executive order in August 2020 banning TikTok absent a divestiture by ByteDance ― essentially the same policy now under consideration. 

TikTok said at the time that the forced divestiture and ban would violate First Amendment and due process rights and was just a pretext for Trump’s “broader campaign of anti-China rhetoric in the run-up to the U.S. election.” A federal court quickly blocked the ban before it could take effect. A bill passed by Congress would likely face legal challenges as well. 

Trump said in the text of his 2020 order that TikTok represented a national security threat because its data collection “threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information — potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.”

Former President Donald Trump issued an executive order in 2020 that sought to achieve virtually the same thing as the bill that President Joe Biden is now supporting.
Former President Donald Trump issued an executive order in 2020 that sought to achieve virtually the same thing as the bill that President Joe Biden is now supporting. VICTOR J. BLUE/Getty Images

Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. House said essentially the same thing when they passed a TikTok ban in March. The bill stalled in the Senate, but over the weekend the House passed another TikTok ban, this time as part of a broader bill that includes a variety of foreign policy provisions popular with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. It now looks more likely than ever that the TikTok divestiture bill could become law. 

Trump first soured on his own idea of a TikTok ban in March as the House geared up to pass the first bill targeting the company. Trump said the ban would overly benefit rival Meta, owner of Facebook and Instagram. Some political commentators have speculated that Trump’s softer stance on TikTok might have something to do with Republican megadonor Jeff Yass’s investment in ByteDance

Some lawmakers have expressed concern about a TikTok ban alienating young voters who use the app, and Trump seems to hope he can use the issue to his advantage in the presidential election. 

“Young people, and lots of others, must remember this on November 5th, ELECTION DAY, when they vote!” Trump wrote.