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ICYMI: Rubio Joins The Brian Kilmeade Show
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined The Brian Kilmeade Show to discuss TikTok and explain why Congress needs to ban the Chinese-owned social media app. See below for highlights and listen to the full interview here.
On why Congress needs to ban TikTok:
“Who owns TikTok? Who controls it? TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company. Chinese companies are not like American companies. Chinese companies are completely controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. For example, the Communist Party has one of the three board seats. The Communist Party gets to pick who the chairman of ByteDance is. They got rid of the previous chairman and put in someone else they wanted.
“TikTok insiders have told us that they are controlled out of ByteDance in China. They have to do whatever [the Chinese Communist Party] tell them to do, both practically and legally. The National Intelligence Law of China, from 2017, says every company in China has to do whatever the Chinese Communist Party tells them they need from them.
“They’ve told them to do things already. They’ve told them, for example, to promote videos on TikTok that attack politicians that are tough on China and make sure that those politicians’ videos don’t get seen, and they make it look like real news stories. They don’t tell you that, but they put that on there. They’ve actually used TikTok to track journalists.
“People need to understand that if you have TikTok on your phone or device, TikTok has access to your pictures, to your videos, to everything you’ve ever typed on it, to everything you do on other sites, all of your contacts, your passwords, your usernames, every text you’ve ever sent, all of your locations, even if you turn off location on your device.
“In fact, TikTok has the ability to invade both the Google and Apple App Store security features and do all this on your device. All of that is sent back to what insiders tell us and lots of lawyers have said is the master administrator, who’s an organization or a group in China that has access to all of this. China will one day use [it] in a time of conflict or to divide our country or to drive narratives that are pro-China and anti-American or to interfere in our elections and go after candidates.
“China cares a lot more about the millions of people who are voters and everyday Americans than they do about political figures like me. They’re not going to change my mind, but they can start dealing with our people over years, by controlling the videos you see and learning more about you than you know about yourself.”
On the politics of banning TikTok:
“Republicans, unfortunately, have signed on to [the RESTRICT Act]. It’s not a TikTok bill. The White House doesn’t want to do anything on TikTok. The Commerce Secretary said, ‘If we do something on TikTok, voters under 35 will punish us.’ The White House has the power to deal with TikTok. They don’t want to do anything on TikTok. What this bill does is it gives them the ability to say, ‘Congress passed something, and it’s bipartisan,’ and it gives the illusion of action, but it’s not action.
“Very specifically, the bill says that if a transaction is under CFIUS review, it slows it down, it makes it hard. You can’t do anything until that process is over. Well, TikTok is under CFIUS review right now.”
On the RESTRICT Act:
“[Senator] Mark Warner [D-VA] and I agree that this is a threat. In fact, I don’t think anybody on the intelligence or national defense committees would disagree. You don’t hear anybody out there arguing in Congress that this is not a big deal, because you know exactly not just how they’re using it, but how they plan to use it. I think where we kind of divert paths is, ‘What do we do about it?’
“I believe we should ban TikTok. I believe we should pass a law that says companies like this are not allowed to make money in America as long as they are owned by a company under the control of an adversary or a foreign government like the government of China. We don’t have time to dither with this, as the number of people on TikTok and our exposure to [the Chinese Communist Party] grow. The longer this goes on, the harder it’s going to be to fix.
“I think [Warner’s] intentions are good in terms of how he views the whole thing, but his bill will not ban TikTok. It will not. In fact, it’s not a TikTok bill at all. It really is a broader bill that talks about apps…,[and] I think that’s what the White House wants. I think he’s trying to offer a bill that the White House will be supportive of and that he thinks can get passed.
“Look, Democrats use TikTok. A lot of Democrat candidates, a lot of Democrat officeholders have TikTok accounts. The White House invited TikTokers in. Democratic political operatives believed that TikTok is politically advantageous for them. And so they kind of want to look tough on China, but they don’t want to crack down on this website, because they’re using it, and they think it benefits them, even though it’s hurting the country.
“I don’t question [Warner’s] motives or intentions at all, but I can tell you what the bill is. That bill is very specific as it is written right now. It will not ban TikTok, and it will probably make it impossible to ever ban TikTok.
“The only bill that has bipartisan support in the House and in the Senate is my bill with [Senator] Angus King [I-ME]. It straight out bans TikTok and says companies that are controlled by the Chinese Communist Party cannot run social media apps in America that collect our data and use it to shape public opinion against our country here in America, convincing young people that their country is an evil country.”