OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning TikTok in August 2020. Soon after, federal courts halted it and then President Joe Biden revoked the order soon after taking office. Now, two top Democrat senators are admitting that Trump was correct when he warned that Tik Tok is a major national security threat.
During an interview Sunday on Fox News, Virginia Democrat Sen. Mark Warner said that TikTok was an “enormous threat” and admitted that Trump was “right” about the risks posed by the Chinese-owned social medial platform.
Bream asked Warner what concerns he had about TikTok and quoted his prior comments saying “as painful as it is for me to say, if Donald Trump was right and we could’ve taken action then, that’d have been a heckuva lot easier than trying to take action in November of 2022.”
“Did Washington simply not listen because they didn’t like the messenger then and what can we do now?” asked Bream.
“Well, I think Donald Trump was right,” Warner said. “I mean, TikTok is an enormous threat.”
Warner described TikTok as “a massive collector of information,” including from children using the app. “So if you’re a parent and you got a kid on TikTok, I would be very, very concerned,” he said. “All of that data that your child is inputting and receiving is being stored somewhere in Beijing.”
TikTok has the potential to be a “distribution model” that would make Russian propaganda networks like Sputnik or RT “pale in comparison,” Warner concluded.
Virginia Democrat Sen. Mark Warner on TikTok: "I think Donald Trump was right. TikTok is an enormous threat." pic.twitter.com/8g2fRwxrF7
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) November 20, 2022
Trump was right–and Intel Agencies were wrong about TikTok, ZTE, Huawei and about China, and much more:#TheGreatAmericaShow
Dem Sen. Warner says ‘Trump was right’ about banning China’s TikTok, warns parents against letting kids on app https://t.co/ayNfExbI9j #FoxNews
— Lou Dobbs (@LouDobbs) November 21, 2022
In 2020, New York Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer admitted Trump was right about TikTok.
“I have been very opposed to TikTok, I was one of the first to expose the Chinese links. And I have urged that TikTok be closed down in America. There’s a new proposal, Mnuchin and Meadows brought it up yesterday, to have Microsoft take it over. There are some questions that have to be answered. How will the data be stored and secured? Do the Chinese — will still the Chinese have links into TikTok? So before I would be for such a merger, I’d have to get some answers to these questions,” he said at the time.
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr called on regulators to ban the app in the U.S., and FBI Director Christopher Wray warned that it contributes to China’s status at the number one theft of U.S. data in the world.
“China’s vast hacking program is the world’s largest, and they have stolen more Americans’ personal and business data than every other nation combined,” Wray told lawmakers last week.
Wray’s statement came just weeks after Carr called for the U.S. to outright ban TikTok, arguing efforts to separate its U.S.-based branch from its headquarters in China were pointless.
He said; “[Dangers] include the possibility that the Chinese government could use it to control data collection on millions of users or control the recommendation algorithm, which could be used for influence operations if they so chose or to control software on millions of devices, which gives the opportunity to potentially tactically compromised personal devices.”
“I don’t believe there is a path forward for anything other than a ban,” he told Axios at the time, adding that there isn’t “a world in which you could come up with sufficient protection on the data that you could have sufficient confidence that it’s not finding its way back into the hands of the CCP.”