by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
None of this is new. In 2019, Sens. Chuck Schumer and Tom Cotton wrote a bipartisan letter to intelligence officials saying they should investigate TikTok’s national security risks. In 2020, the Defense Department recommended that military personnel delete the app, and several military branches banned it. Trump tried to get the service banned in the U.S. or force its sale to a U.S. company.
But instead of listening to these concerns, President Joe Biden has been playing footsie with TikTok to score political advantages.
In fact, just weeks before Wray and Warner raised the threat level, Biden brought TikTok “influencers” into the White House to enlist them to help Democrats avoid defeat in the midterm elections.
Rob Flaherty, the White House director of digital strategy, told the Washington Post that “we know people listen to trusted messengers, and as an increasing number of young people turn to Instagram, TikTok and other platforms for news and information, we need to engage with the voices they trust directly.”
This was hardly the first time Biden has turned to TikTok for help.
“Despite repeated bipartisan warnings about the national security risks of TikTok, the administration continues to make use of the Chinese-owned social networking app,” noted RealClearPolitics.
Back in August 2021, for example, the White House let a moronic TikTok “influencer” who goes by “Benny Drama” video his day at the White House as part of Biden’s push to get people vaccinated.
This March, “National Security Council staffers gathered 30 influential TikTok stars on a Zoom call to receive guidance and information about the unfolding war in Ukraine and the rising cost of energy,” according to Newsweek.
In September, Biden met with more than two dozen TikTok “influencers” to promote his “Inflation Reduction Act.”