Trump backs potential Microsoft, TikTok deal, sets September deadline

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal prosecutor speaks out, says Barr 'has brought shame' on Justice Dept. Former Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office Progressive group buys domain name of Trump's No. 1 Supreme Court pick MORE said Monday that social media platform TikTok must end its U.S. operations on Sept. 15 if a pending deal with Microsoft to buy the company from Chinese group ByteDance does not go through.

“We set a date — I set a date of around Sept. 15, at which point it’s going to be out of business in the United States,” Trump told reporters. “But if somebody, and whether it’s Microsoft or somebody else, buys it, that will be interesting.” 

Trump noted that he approved of Microsoft buying TikTok. Microsoft confirmed Sunday that it had spoken to Trump and was in talks to buy TikTok from ByteDance, a Beijing-based company that is currently under investigation by the Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). 

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“I don’t mind whether it’s Microsoft or somebody else — a big company, a secure company, a very American company — buys it,” Trump said Monday. “It’s probably easier to buy the whole thing than to buy 30 percent of it.”

Trump emphasized that whether Microsoft or another company closes a deal on TikTok, “a very substantial [part] of that price is going to have to come into the Treasury of the United States because we’re making it possible for this deal to happen.” 

The announcement comes after days of uncertainty over TikTok’s future following Trump telling reporters Friday that he planned to ban the platform from operating in the United States, citing concerns over its ties to the Chinese Communist Party.  

Trump’s comments were made the same day White House trade adviser Peter Navarro warned “mothers of America” during appearances on CNN and Fox News of the potential dangers of TikTok to children. 

“It’s about 10 a.m., the Chinese Communist Party may know where your children are, that is essentially the problem,” Navarro said during the CNN appearance. “We know there is a huge national security and privacy problem.”

Navarro raised concerns around Microsoft’s potential purchase of the U.S. stake of the company, noting that Microsoft has been involved in tech issues in China and describing it as “a multinational company that has made billions in China.”

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TikTok has pushed back against concerns raised by the Trump administration and members of Congress. The company recently hired former Disney executive Kevin Mayer to serve as CEO, moved the storage of American data from the app to the U.S. and plans to hire 10,000 American workers in the coming months. 

TikTok U.S. General Manager Vanessa Pappas said in a video released Saturday that the company was not “planning on going anywhere,” adding that it was building “the safest app because we know it is the right thing to do.”

“We are here for the long run, continue to share your voice here, and let’s stand for TikTok,” Pappas said.  

TikTok did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment on Trump’s announcement of the Sept. 15 deadline.