Free Market Fundamentalist

Trump Bans TikTok. Where Is the Party of Free Enterprise?

The president can now ban private companies he doesn’t like?

Donald Trump
American president Donald Trump makes an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 24, 2017 (Michael Vadon)

As if we needed more proof the Republican Party has surrendered all its principles to Donald Trump, the president is trying to ban a private company by executive fiat and the party of free enterprise is silent.

Trump may have a point on the merits. The Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok has a lot of problems, not in the least its vulnerability to state interference.

But I don’t doubt the only reason Trump cares is that teenagers used TikTok to disrupt one of his rallies in June. They organized a campaign via the app to buy tickets to Trump’s event in Tulsa and never showed up, humiliating the president, who faced a half-empty arena.

Where is Congress?

Trump’s executive order bans Americans from doing business with the Chinese owner of TikTok within 45 days.

That gives Microsoft enough time to complete negotiations to buy the app. Under American ownership, the data of some 100 million TikTok users in the United States could be stored domestically, not abroad.

Trump cites an ill-defined “national emergency” to justify his power grab. It will likely be challenged in the courts, and it’s hard to imagine how it could not be overturned.

But a court case could take months or even years.

Congress needs to act, and that means Republicans, who still control the Senate.

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