Former Trump Secretary Says He's Assembling Group To Buy TikTok

Steven Mnuchin (Getty Images)
March 14, 2024

Former Treasury secretary under the Trump administration Steven Mnuchin announced he is assembling an investor group to acquire TikTok as the Senate weighs a House bill that could ban the app if its Chinese parent company doesn't sell it. 

"I think the legislation should pass, and I think [TikTok] should be sold. It’s a great business, and I’m going to put together a group to buy TikTok," the former Trump official and investment banker said during a Thursday appearance on CNBC. "This should be owned by U.S. businesses. There’s no way that the Chinese would ever let a U.S. company own something like this in China."

Mnuchin’s remark came a day after the House overwhelmingly passed the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, which threatens to ban TikTok entirely in the United States if its Chinese-owned parent company ByteDance does not divest within 165 days. "We are glad to see this bill move forward. We will look to the Senate to take swift action," President Joe Biden’s press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Thursday described the House bill as "at odds with the principles of fair competition and international trade rules," according to NBC News. "If the pretext of national security can be used to suppress excellent companies from other countries arbitrarily, there is no fairness or justice to speak of," Wenbin said. "It is a complete logic of theft to see something good and try to take it for oneself by any means necessary."

U.S. authorities have long scrutinized the popular video-sharing platform due to its alleged ties to the Chinese Communist Party. In late January, officials grilled TikTok's CEO Shou Chew in a congressional hearing. Former president Donald Trump signed an executive order in 2020 requiring ByteDance to divest from its American operations, although the order was later overturned in court. Trump cited "credible evidence" that ByteDance "might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States."

Published under: National Security , TikTok