ICYMI: Rubio Joins Special Report
Mar 07 2023
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Special Report with Bret Baier to discuss his plan to ban TikTok, U.S.-China competition, and Russia’s war on Ukraine. See below for highlights and watch the full interview on YouTube and Rumble.
On Senator Rubio’s plan to ban TikTok:
“We should pass a bill that bans TikTok. I have the only bipartisan, bicameral bill that actually does that. I think [Senator Mark Warner’s] bill takes steps in that direction. It gives the administration the power to do what I think they already have the power to do. But in either respect, you have this growing consensus up here, at a time when there's not a lot of consensus, that this is important.
“Here's why it's important. It's not the videos. Look, there's some stuff on [TikTok] that's disturbing, and there's some stuff on TikTok that I think is pretty catchy and pretty creative. It's not the content per se, it's the data that is collected. Data is the most valuable commodity in the world. They all control data—Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat. The difference is the data here, in the fastest growing app in America, is controlled by a company that's owned by a Chinese company.
“That Chinese company, Bytedance, is under the complete control of the Communist Party of China. Like every company [in China], if the Chinese government tells Bytedance, ‘We want all the data you collected from TikTok in the United States,’ they have to turn it over. That data is everything from your pictures to your contacts to what you watched on TikTok. And it also creates the opportunity for backdoors and beyond.
“That's the reason why this administration has banned it on all federal devices, but somehow [the administration] thinks it's okay to continue to allow it to operate in society writ large. It's a massive vulnerability that needs to be closed, or we're going to pay the price.”
On the critique that banning TikTok would inhibit Americans’ free expression:
“There are other platforms they could [express themselves] on. Theoretically, they could do it on a TikTok that's no longer owned by Bytedance. The problem here is not what they're posting. The problem here is who owns the software that's on the devices of millions of Americans? That's the issue.
“It's not the content that is being restricted. No one here is passing a bill banning the posting of [videos]. The ban is against the ownership [of data by Beijing]. If tomorrow TikTok was sold to a company that wasn't Bytedance, that wasn't under the Chinese national security laws and the conditions that that imposes, there'd be no issue at all. We have a right to protect our country from companies that are directly linked to the Communist Party of China.”
On the nature of the competition between the U.S. and China:
“The wake up call here is that we're engaged in the most massive great power rivalry probably in human history. [Great power competition] was the normal course of things over the last 500 years. The last 20 years were an exception. [This competition] involves everything—technology, science, economics. It involves information—we talked about TikTok. It involves the military. It involves every aspect of our society. And we need to wake up to that reality.
“The Chinese are fully aware of it. There isn't an industry that's important that they don't want to dominate, and there isn't an opening in our country that the Chinese Communist Party is not willing to use to benefit themselves at our expense. They're doing what countries have normally done for 500 years. They're acting in the best interests of their country. We now need to act in the best interest of ours.
“Our biggest problem isn't China. Our biggest problem is us. Our biggest problem is waking up to realize that we're in a competition, because we haven't acted that way for 20 years.
“China does have problems. I've said that repeatedly. They're not the 12-foot giant that somehow is destined to rule the world. But they've grown faster, they've grown more prosperous, and they've grown more powerful at our expense.
“They're going to be a big, powerful country, they're going to matter. They're going to be a great power. We're not trying to prevent that, but it can't come at our expense. It can't come by taking away our jobs, our industries, and our capabilities. And that's what's happened. And that's what can no longer be allowed to happen.”
On U.S. support for Ukraine and the need for a strategy:
“I think there's strong support for funding a strategy. I don’t think there's strong support for funding a stalemate. I think there's strong support for funding a strategy that has to be weighed against our other priorities.
“I do think Ukraine still has a lot of support here. Obviously, it's their fight. We've been helpful. They've done a great job of fighting. But obviously, there has to be funding of a strategy. This administration still has not defined what our national security interests are, what our end goals are, and what we're doing. And that's really important as they keep coming back to Congress for more money.”