As the row between US government and China’s ByteDance-owned TikTok continues to grow, a senior Democrat has lashed out on US President Donald Trump for commenting on the potential acquisition of the American operations of the video-sharing app by a US firm. Followed by rebuking Trump’s stance, the Rhode Island Representative David Cicilline then said that such a deal could safeguard American interests.
In an interview with Bloomberg News on Wednesday, August 26, Cicilline said that the job of federal enforcement agencies is to determine if TikTok promotes competition or poses a threat to national security. The top democrat also added that the US President should not have indulged himself into the outcome of the decisions.
This came after Trump signed an executive order on August 14 pushing TikTok’s Chinese owner to divest its American branch citing national security. Cicilline also weighed in on the possible acquisition of the same by Microsoft Corp and Oracle Corp and said that it is not the US President’s role to decide the buyer. In the same interview, the top Democrat said that “we don’t need” Trump injecting himself into a transaction in a way that he has done in past and even called the politicisation of the company “dangerous”.
Trump has previously cited “credible evidence” for the possibility of Bytedance to take action that in turns jeopardises the national security of the United States. The latest executive order is followed by an investigation of ByteDance’s acquisition Musical.ly which was introduced in America in 2017 and then merged with TikTok. Trump has already signed a separate executive order banning American transactions with WeChat and TikTok’s parent company ByteDance in 45 days.
Meanwhile, amid the growing threat by the Trump administration, TikTok Chief Executive Officer Kevin Mayer on Wednesday, August 26 quit the company reportedly citing 'sharp changes in the political environment'. This was followed by TikTok announcing a possible lawsuit filing against the White House over Trump’s executive order. According to agency reports, TikTok General Manager Vanessa Pappas will take over the post as TikTok's CEO on an interim basis.
“In recent weeks, as the political environment has sharply changed, I have done significant reflection on what the corporate structural changes will require, and what it means for the global role I signed up for. Against this backdrop, and as we expect to reach a resolution very soon, it is with a heavy heart that I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to leave the company,” said Mayer in a letter, cited by a news agency.