Graham defends Trump on TikTok, backs Microsoft purchase

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSeveral GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Graham says he appreciates Trump orders, but 'would much prefer a congressional agreement' Sunday shows preview: White House, congressional Democrats unable to breach stalemate over coronavirus relief MORE (R-S.C.) defended President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE’s plans to ban the social media platform TikTok from operating in the United States.

Trump announced the plan to reporters on Air Force One on Friday night, citing national security concerns about the Chinese-owned company giving American user data to the Chinese government. 

“To fans and users of #TikTok I understand your concerns,” Graham tweeted from his campaign account. “However President Trump is right to want to make sure that the Chinese Communist Party doesn’t own TikTok and most importantly — all of your private data.”

ADVERTISEMENT

At the time, a TikTok spokesperson responded to Trump’s threat by pointing out that American user data is stored in the U.S. and that there is significant American investment in the app. 

Trump’s announcement promptly generated criticism from TikTok users who accused the president of threatening freedoms of speech and expression.

ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of TikTok, is reportedly willing to forfeit its stake in the U.S. operations of the app to Microsoft following Trump's announcement of the ban, according to a report from Reuters published Saturday. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Earlier Friday, reports circulated that Trump was going to require ByteDance to sell off its U.S. operations. At the time, the president was undecided on his plan about the company, saying that he was "looking at TikTok."   

Graham described the potential sale of TikTok to Microsoft as a "win-win."

"Have an American company like Microsoft take over TikTok," Graham tweeted, saying the move "keeps competition alive and data out of the hands of the Chinese Communist Party."