TikTok deal: Trump does not like the idea of Oracle.
Donald Trump has questioned plans by the Chinese technology company ByteDance to maintain a vast majority stake in TikTok’s US operations as part of a “reliable technology bargain” with Oracle.
“Conceptually I can tell you I really don’t like this,” Trump told a news conference when asked of a documented proposal to give Oracle just a minority share. “I am not ready to sign off about anything. They are likely to be reporting for me tomorrow morning and I’ll let you know.”
Trump said he would be briefed on Thursday on a proposal that calls for Oracle to become a “reliable technology provider” for TikTok’s American operations,” but he did not favor the notion of getting the Chinese firm keep control.
“It has to be 100 percent so far as national security is concerned,” Trump said. “I must find the offer.”
The president expressed shock that Washington couldn’t demand payment by the firms in exchange for approving any agreement. “Amazingly I find that you are not allowed to do that,” he said. “What sort of a thing is this?”
Trump’s intervention followed six Republican senators advocating the government to reject the TikTok bargain as long as ties remained to Chinese proprietor ByteDance and indicating the president could obstruct the proposal.
Trump had previously threatened to ban the program unless its US operations were sold to a US firm and the US government obtained a share of those proceeds.
“We remain opposed to any arrangement that would allow China-based or controlled entities to retain, control or alter the algorithms or code that operate any US-based version of TikTok,” he wrote.
“We are heartened that this deal still needs government approval, and if reports suggesting this proposed deal will retain links to ByteDance or other Chinese-controlled entities, so we strongly urge the administration to deny such a proposition on national security grounds.”
Senator Ted Cruz delivered another letter to Trump asserting that the Oracle ByteDance bargain “failed to meet up with the intent of this president’s executive orders” and also “raises serious national security concerns”.
The White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, previously told reporters that the decision would be made “in short order”. The White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said security and the ownership question were of paramount concern.
US federal security officials fear that ByteDance could offer American user information to the Chinese authorities. But Trump may rather not alienate 100 million-odd American TikTok users so close to the 3 November elections.