Trump backs down, supports TikTok deal

TikTok’s US operations got a new lease on life Sunday after President Donald Trump announced that he was supporting a deal between the Chinese app’s parent company ByteDance and American tech company Oracle.

“I have given the deal my blessing,” Trump said. “I approve the deal in concept.”

So much for all of his anti TikTok histrionics. Just a few days ago he stated that, beginning Sunday, he would prohibit Americans from downloading the app. This came after he said he was “conceptually” opposed to a deal that allowed ByteDance to hold onto a majority stake of TikTok.

But Trump has given his “blessing” to a deal that does just that.

As Reuters reports, the deal places TikTok in the hands of a new company called TikTok Global. While headquartered in the US, TikTok Global is majority owned by ByteDance, which has an 80 percent stake. What remains is split between Oracle Corp (12.5 percent) and Walmart (7.5 percent).

Critically, though, all of TikTok’s user data from the US will be hosted by Oracle. The user data question was the main sticking point, as Washington argued that the Chinese Communist Party had access to TikTok’s databases, putting the privacy and security of American users at risk. Indeed, Trump and his lackeys routinely and melodramatically asserted that TikTok posed a grave “national security threat” to the United States.

Again, Trump previously stated that he would not support a deal that resulted in ByteDance retaining a majority stake. But he’s moved the goal posts and is justifying his reversal by pointing to the fact that approximately 40 percent of ByteDance stock is owned by American investors.

Add that 40 percent to Oracle’s 12.5 percent and Walmart’s 7.5 percent, and Americans technically have a majority stake. So goes the new argument, which your average online tutor will tell you is specious at best.

Of course, Trump will approve the deal not because it satisfies his administration’s “national security” concerns, but because it gives him one more thing to boast about in the run up to the presidential election on 3 November.

A new national poll from the Wall Street Journal and NBC News has Democratic nominee Joe Biden up 8 points on Trump.