Trump Gives Rambling Answer on Why He Backtracked on a TikTok Ban

Former President Donald J. Trump offered a rambling and confusing explanation on Monday of why he had reversed himself on whether the United States should ban TikTok over concerns that its Chinese ownership poses a threat to national security.

In a CNBC interview, Mr. Trump said that he still considered the social media app a national security threat but that banning it would make young people “go crazy.” He added that any action harming TikTok would benefit Facebook, which he called an “enemy of the people.”

“Frankly, there are a lot of people on TikTok that love it,” Mr. Trump said. “There are a lot of young kids on TikTok who will go crazy without it.”

“There’s a lot of good and there’s a lot of bad with TikTok,” he added, “but the thing I don’t like is that without TikTok, you can make Facebook bigger, and I consider Facebook to be an enemy of the people, along with a lot of the media.”

Mr. Trump tried to ban TikTok while in office, pushing its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, to sell the platform to a new owner or face being blocked from American app stores. A House committee advanced legislation last week that would similarly force TikTok to cut ties with ByteDance.

In a powerful display of bipartisanship — rare these days in Washington — the top Republican and Democratic lawmakers on the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party used nearly identical language to describe the risks of TikTok.

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