The fate of one of the world’s fastest-growing social media companies, TikTok, resulted in a shouting match that broke out in the Oval Office between two of President Trump’s top advisers, the Washington Post reports. Trump was watching as a “knockdown, drag-out” fight ensued between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade advisor Peter Navarro, according to a source that spoke to the news outlet. I’m trying to picture Mnuchin in a physical fight with anyone, but the image escapes me.
The president signed an executive order on Thursday that would shut down the video-sharing service’s U.S. operations in September if its Beijing-based parent company did not divest it.
In front of the president, Mnuchin argued that TikTok should be sold to a U.S. company, and Navarro called for an outright ban of the social media app and accused the Treasury secretary of being soft on China, the news outlet reported.
Treasury Department spokesperson Monica Crowley told the Post that Mnuchin did participate in a meeting with Trump “to update him on national security recommendations,” but did not comment on the specifics regarding Navarro and Mnuchin but did seem to hint that there was a disagreement of sorts.
“One of the great strengths of the Trump administration is the president’s reliance on strong, often opposing views, to reach decisions which are invariably in the best interests of the American people,” Navarro said in a statement. “Because this is true, it is critical for a strong America that ‘what happens in the Oval Office, should stay in the Oval Office’ so I have no comment on what is clearly a malicious leak riddled with hyperbole and misinformation.”
While TikTok does appear to be data-mining, so does Facebook and other tech giants. Although, in this case, it’s based in China, so that’s another issue. Meanwhile, the timing of Trump’s war with TikTok is interesting since social media users on the site undermined his Tulsa, Oklahoma rally, by ordering tickets without showing up at his MAGA event. And White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s daughter, Claudia, has made a splash there, gaining popularity with her anti-Trump videos. But we’re sure this has nothing to do with the president’s fragile ego (wink wink).
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