- Trump defended his threat to relate the sale of TikTok to a US company in the US government that received a “very large share” of the deal during a press conference on Tuesday.
- “We all have cards, without us you can not come to the United States,” Trump said.
- Trump did not elaborate on how he plans to demand that companies pay or which side the money would come from, but claimed that TikTok and Microsoft – which are in acquisition talks – both agreed that the United States would receive a payment.
- Trump threatened to ban the app from operating in the United States last month, citing national security concerns, although it is unclear what authority he has for doing so.
- China responded by calling the United States a “villain”
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President Donald Trump doubled his request that every sale of TikTok to a US company involve the US government to get a “very large share.”
“We all have cards, without us you can not come to the United States,” Trump said at a news conference Tuesday.
“If they make a deal for TikTok, whether it’s 30% in the US or the whole company, I say, ‘it’s okay, but if you do, we’re really making it possible because we’re letting you operate here,” Trump said. added that “the US Treasury Department must also benefit from.”
Trump also claimed that both TikTok and Microsoft – which confirmed on Sunday that it is in talks to buy the viral video app developer – agreed to his terms to cut the US government on the deal. TikTok has reportedly been privately valued at $ 50 billion.
“They understood that, and they actually agreed with me,” Trump said. “I think they were very much in agreement with me.”
A Microsoft spokesman referred Business Insider to a blog post the company published on Sunday, saying it plans to continue talks with TikTok following a conversation between CEO Satya Nadella and Trump.
“Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the president’s concerns. It is committed to acquiring TikTok subject to a full security review and providing US economic benefits, including the US Treasury Department,” the post said.
TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story.
The president gave no details on how he would force TikTok, which is owned by Chinese-based parent company ByteDance, or a potential buyer to share business revenue with the US government.
Trump has the authority under a 1988 law to block foreign business deals involving US companies if he considers the deals a national security threat, which he has previously used twice to block deals with companies from China and Singapore that were looking to acquire US companies. .
Chinese state media called Trump’s proposal “open robbery” and a “crush and grab” and accused him of “turning the once great America into a rogue country.”
Trump last month threatened to ban the app from operating completely in the United States, but it is unclear what power he has to completely ban an app from the country. Trump said the ban was intended to punish China over the coronavirus, a motivation he reiterated on Tuesday.
Trump and other politicians, including Joe Biden, have captured their rhetoric against TikTok in recent months, citing concerns that the app may share data with Beijing or spy on Americans. But experts have pointed out that the app collects user data in a similar way to US-based competitors such as Facebook.
Trump added that he thought Microsoft would be an acceptable buyer because of its “high” security clearances, which already allow it to do business with the Department of Defense and other federal agencies – although he said other companies are also interested.
Paige Leskin contributed reporting for this story.