President has ‘Concerns’ About TikTok: White House

President Joe Biden has “concerns” about TikTok, said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on March 1. When asked during the White House press briefing if the White House sees the application as a threat to national security, Jean-Pierre answered in the affirmative. TikTok has come under fire from both sides of the aisle over national security concerns as the application’s parent company, ByteDance, has ties with the Chinese Communist regime. “Well, we have said that we have concerns about the app. And that’s why we have called on Congress to act and include … how China is trying to collect the privacy of Americans in a way … it can present national security risks,” she said. “So yes, we have concerns about that,” she continued. “And look, we’re going to continue to, again, call on Congress to lay out the president’s unity agenda and what he’s looking to do and the actions that he wants to take from the Executive Branch, his authority. And so we’re going to call that out.” The White House does not allow TikTok to be on its devices. The Office of Management and Budget announced on Feb. 27 that all U.S. government agencies have 30 days to remove TikTok from their devices. This is in accordance with a law Congress passed in December prohibiting TikTok on government devices. Jean-Pierre declined to say whether Biden will ban TikTok on all devices in the United States. Jean-Pierre’s remarks come as the House Foreign Affairs Committee on March 1 advanced a bill, the DATA Act, that would allow Biden to enact such a ban. The bill advanced 24–16 with all Republicans voting in favor and all Democrats in opposition. “Everybody knows what TikTok is,” said the committee’s chairman, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), ahead of the vote. “It’s too dangerous to be on our phones as members of Congress. In my judgment, it’s too dangerous to be on our children’s phones. That’s the whole point of this bill.” However, the committee’s ranking member, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), lamented what he said was the bill being rushed. “We could have held hearings before the markup and carefully crafted bipartisan legislation together,” he told reporters. “Instead, my staff and I received the text of this legislation a little over a week ago, and have only had several days to review a bill that would dramatically rewrite the rules-based international economic order.” Jean-Pierre also would not say if the White House will stop inviting TikTok influencers and instead reiterated that the administration has concerns with TikTok. In August 2021, the White House invited TikTok influencer Benito Skinner, also known as “Benny Drama,” to promote the COVID vaccine. In March 2022, the White House gave such influencers a briefing on the war in Ukraine. In September, the White House invited them to the South Lawn as Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law. ‘Political Theater’ In a statement obtained by The Epoch Times, a TikTok spokesperson called recent bans enacted by world governments “political theater” and urged the U.S. Congress to adopt a proposed Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) agreement. “The ban of TikTok on U.S. federal devices was passed in December without any deliberation, and unfortunately that approach has served as a blueprint for other world governments. These bans are little more than political theater,” the spokesperson said. The TikTok spokesperson expressed concern about the potential for the popular video app to be banned from the personal devices of ordinary Americans outside of the government sphere. “We hope that when it comes to addressing national security concerns about TikTok beyond government devices, U.S. Congress will explore solutions that won’t have the effect of censoring the voices of millions of Americans,” the statement said. “The swiftest and most thorough way to address any national security concerns about TikTok is for CFIUS to adopt the proposed agreement that we worked with them on for nearly two years,” the statement continued. “These plans have been developed under the oversight of our country’s top national security agencies, and we are well underway in implementing them to further secure our platform in the United States.” Caden Pearson contributed to this report.

President has ‘Concerns’ About TikTok: White House

President Joe Biden has “concerns” about TikTok, said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on March 1.

When asked during the White House press briefing if the White House sees the application as a threat to national security, Jean-Pierre answered in the affirmative. TikTok has come under fire from both sides of the aisle over national security concerns as the application’s parent company, ByteDance, has ties with the Chinese Communist regime.

“Well, we have said that we have concerns about the app. And that’s why we have called on Congress to act and include … how China is trying to collect the privacy of Americans in a way … it can present national security risks,” she said.

“So yes, we have concerns about that,” she continued. “And look, we’re going to continue to, again, call on Congress to lay out the president’s unity agenda and what he’s looking to do and the actions that he wants to take from the Executive Branch, his authority. And so we’re going to call that out.”

The White House does not allow TikTok to be on its devices. The Office of Management and Budget announced on Feb. 27 that all U.S. government agencies have 30 days to remove TikTok from their devices. This is in accordance with a law Congress passed in December prohibiting TikTok on government devices.

Jean-Pierre declined to say whether Biden will ban TikTok on all devices in the United States.

Jean-Pierre’s remarks come as the House Foreign Affairs Committee on March 1 advanced a bill, the DATA Act, that would allow Biden to enact such a ban. The bill advanced 24–16 with all Republicans voting in favor and all Democrats in opposition.

“Everybody knows what TikTok is,” said the committee’s chairman, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), ahead of the vote. “It’s too dangerous to be on our phones as members of Congress. In my judgment, it’s too dangerous to be on our children’s phones. That’s the whole point of this bill.”

However, the committee’s ranking member, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), lamented what he said was the bill being rushed.

“We could have held hearings before the markup and carefully crafted bipartisan legislation together,” he told reporters. “Instead, my staff and I received the text of this legislation a little over a week ago, and have only had several days to review a bill that would dramatically rewrite the rules-based international economic order.”

Jean-Pierre also would not say if the White House will stop inviting TikTok influencers and instead reiterated that the administration has concerns with TikTok.

In August 2021, the White House invited TikTok influencer Benito Skinner, also known as “Benny Drama,” to promote the COVID vaccine. In March 2022, the White House gave such influencers a briefing on the war in Ukraine. In September, the White House invited them to the South Lawn as Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law.

‘Political Theater’

In a statement obtained by The Epoch Times, a TikTok spokesperson called recent bans enacted by world governments “political theater” and urged the U.S. Congress to adopt a proposed Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) agreement.

“The ban of TikTok on U.S. federal devices was passed in December without any deliberation, and unfortunately that approach has served as a blueprint for other world governments. These bans are little more than political theater,” the spokesperson said.

The TikTok spokesperson expressed concern about the potential for the popular video app to be banned from the personal devices of ordinary Americans outside of the government sphere.

“We hope that when it comes to addressing national security concerns about TikTok beyond government devices, U.S. Congress will explore solutions that won’t have the effect of censoring the voices of millions of Americans,” the statement said.

“The swiftest and most thorough way to address any national security concerns about TikTok is for CFIUS to adopt the proposed agreement that we worked with them on for nearly two years,” the statement continued. “These plans have been developed under the oversight of our country’s top national security agencies, and we are well underway in implementing them to further secure our platform in the United States.”

Caden Pearson contributed to this report.