Will the US House vote to ban TikTok? 

March 12 – The US House of Representatives will vote tomorrow on a bill that would force ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, to divest their shares in the company to a US company or face a ban in the United States. 

The reporting is there’s overwhelming support in the House to do this – some estimates predict more than 300 yes votes could be heard. 

Attorney Clint Barkdoll pointed out, “Yesterday I think in a very surprising interview, Donald Trump, he appeared on CNBC Squawk Box yesterday morning. Trump has now changed his mind about banning TikTok. He said that he’s concerned that if TikTok is banned, it’s going to expand the platform for Meta, Facebook. He called Facebook the enemy of the people. Trump is now having second thoughts about this. Why is this relevant? Well, we know that Trump is still very influential among lawmakers and will his change of position now possibly sink this ban vote tomorrow? That’s going to be huge news tomorrow, depending on what the House does.”

Obviously, if the House passes the bill, it still has to make it through the Senate and President Biden has said he would sign the bill if Congress passes it. 

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM noted, “The language here is just divest ByteDance. It’s not a ban. The TikTok-ers are using their little, tiny minds because they’re not doing the dig.” 

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM added, “This is the group we want to vote for the next president.” 

Ryan continued, “Take it easy here. Make sure you get the full grasp of it. But also, what are we going to do? Are we going to trust China?”

Barkdoll said, “That is the problem. There’s where there’s the disconnect with Trump’s interview yesterday because he said he still thinks TikTok is a national security risk. The Heritage Foundation, a very conservative group, came out yesterday saying yes, this needs to pass. If the divestiture leads to an outright ban, so be it. We need to do this. House leaders are being briefed by intelligence officials again today about the dangers of TikTok. So it’s just interesting the way this has maybe changed in the last 24 hours. You wonder if politics are coming into play, young people love TikTok. Anything that would change their ability to keep using it politically is going to be unpopular. You wonder if that’s what might be driving that?”

Jansen added, “Do we have to wonder? Really? Because hedge fund manager Jeff Yass, who has a significant stake in TikTok, has funded the Trump campaign and to Club for Growth. Now suddenly the Club for Growth and Trump don’t want this to happen. I’m sorry. This is a naked fear of losing a big donor. I’m tired. Everyone says they’re tired of this kind of manipulation of our politics. And Democrats, don’t you smile because you are just as guilty of this as anybody else. Hearing Biden apologizing for calling that murderer illegal. You know that there’s lots of political sway on both sides and this is not a good look for Trump. At all.” 

Ryan wondered, “Or is it a shrewd political move? Going alright if all these young people, do I need to be cornered with another issue that is going to peel off young voters where I might be able to find some common ground and all this stuff here by asking for at least another look at it for the younger vote that Trump’s looking for.”

Barkdoll said, “I think it’s politics. Jeff Yass, who’s a billionaire, he’s a Pennsylvanian by the way. He’s the wealthiest person in Pennsylvania. The reporting is that Trump met with him over the last few days and Yass is the biggest US investor in ByteDance. He owns about 15% of the company which owns TikTok, of course. So the timing of this, I think Yass got to Trump. Trump needs campaign donor money. Yass is a very influential guy. Now Trump claims during their meeting TikTok never came up, but yet here he came out within a day or two of the meeting, saying he’s changed his position on what the House or our government should do with TikTok. It’s probably all the above. I think it’s what you just said, too, Pat. TikTok is so popular among young people. We know it’s where a big percentage of young people get their daily news and information. No one wants to be perceived as the candidate that cut that off. So I’m sure all that is going into the discussions of this and that’s why it’s so interesting to me. What will these House members do? Because some of them have been ringing the alarm for years, we need to take action. Might they now backtrack on that in light of Trump’s new position?”