to ban or not to ban
August 1, 2020

President Trump on Friday said he will ban the popular Chinese-owned video app TikTok from the United States, either via executive order or another method, such as a designation. But its loyal users may not have too much to fear in the long run — Trump's threat may be a "negotiation tactic" to make sure the app is sold to a U.S. company and completely severs ties with China.

As Tiktok, which is owned by Chinese parent company ByteDance, has increased in popularity, the Trump administration has increasingly scrutinized the app, which appears to be a result of heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing. Earlier in July, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. was looking into banning the app because of national security concerns.

In response to Trump's most recent announcement, a Tiktok spokesperson told NBC News the company has created jobs in the U.S. and is committed to protecting users' privacy. Meanwhile, Microsoft has reportedly been working to buy TikTok from its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, for some time. Trump reportedly said he wasn't a fan of the idea, but if Bloomberg's sources are right, that could just be another part of the strategy. Tim O'Donnell

June 5, 2017

Since Saturday's terrorist attacks in London, President Trump has been on a multi-day Twitter spree promoting his suspended executive order to ban travel to the U.S. from six majority-Muslim countries. By Monday morning, Trump's frustration had mounted to targeting his own Justice Department:

The "watered down" version of the ban refers to an executive order signed by President Trump himself in March, which modified the original order by exempting Iraq from the list of countries and suspending the admission of refugees for 120 days. The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled in May that Trump's new order nevertheless "drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination" and is "intended to bar Muslims from this country." The next step for the order is to be reviewed by the Supreme Court.

Many pointed out that Trump's words Monday morning will likely be used against the ban in court, as they have been in the past. Others pointed out that the ban was originally intended as a 90-day freeze on travel to establish better vetting, although it's now been over 100 days since the order was signed.

Perhaps most notably, President Trump appears to have broken with his own administration, which has repeatedly insisted against calling the order a "ban" — as pointed out by a Morning Joe clip this morning, aired just half an hour before Trump's Twitter rant. Jeva Lange

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