Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin wants to buy TikTok as it faces U.S. ban

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Written By Maya Cantina

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  • READ MORE: House votes to force TikTok owner ByteDance to divest app 
  • DailyMail.com breaks down the realities of the app getting banned in the U.S. 
  • Mnuchin: ‘I’m going to put together a group to buy TikTok’

Donald Trump’s former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has revealed he is assembling a group of investors to buy TikTok.

Mnuchin announced the bid less than 24 hours after the House passed a bill that would force its Chinese-backed parent company to divest the social media app or face a ban in the U.S. 

‘I think the legislation should pass and I think it should be sold,’ Mnuchin told CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box’ on Thursday morning. ‘It’s a great business and I’m going to put together a group to buy TikTok. 

‘This should be owned by U.S. businesses,’ he added. ‘There’s no way that the Chinese would ever let a U.S. company own something like this in China.’

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew has vowed the company will exercise its legal rights to prevent a ban.

Donald Trump’s former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has revealed he is gathering a group of investors to try and buy TikTok. He is pictured with is wife Louise Linton in 2017 

U.S. President Donald Trump looks at Jared Kushner (C) and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin (R) during a meeting with leaders of Israel and UAE announcing a peace agreement to establish diplomatic ties with Israel and the UAE, in the Oval Office of the White House on August 13, 2020 in Washington, DC

U.S. President Donald Trump looks at Jared Kushner (C) and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin (R) during a meeting with leaders of Israel and UAE announcing a peace agreement to establish diplomatic ties with Israel and the UAE, in the Oval Office of the White House on August 13, 2020 in Washington, DC

The bill over TikTok’s future is now heading to the Senate. It’s unclear whether it will pass, but President Joe Biden has said he will sign the legislation if it does.

Trump, Mnuchin’s former boss, is one of the high-profile figures to have come out against the ban.

The former president says getting rid of the app in the U.S. would empower other social media platforms such as Facebook, which he described as the ‘enemy of the people’. 

The video-sharing app has surged in popularity across the world while causing nervousness about its Chinese ownership and its potential subservience to the Communist Party in Beijing. 

Lawmakers in the House voted 352 in favor of the proposed law and 65 against, in a rare moment of unity in politically divided Washington.

The warning shot against the app caught many by surprise as both Republicans and Democrats risked the wrath of TikTok’s passionate young users in an election year.

‘Today’s bipartisan vote demonstrates Congress’ opposition to Communist China’s attempts to spy on and manipulate Americans, and signals our resolve to deter our enemies,’ Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson said after the vote.

‘I urge the Senate to pass this bill and send it to the President so he can sign it into law.’

Congresswoman Delia Ramirez (D-IL) speaks as she is joined by fellow House members Rep. Robert Garcia (D-CA), Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-FL), Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-CA) and TikTok creators during a press conference to voice their opposition to the

Congresswoman Delia Ramirez (D-IL) speaks as she is joined by fellow House members Rep. Robert Garcia (D-CA), Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-FL), Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-CA) and TikTok creators during a press conference to voice their opposition to the “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act,” pending crackdown legislation on TikTok in the House of Representatives, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 12, 2024

Devotees of TikTok gather at the Capitol in Washington, as the House passed a bill that would lead to a nationwide ban of the popular video app if its China-based owner doesn't sell, Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Devotees of TikTok gather at the Capitol in Washington, as the House passed a bill that would lead to a nationwide ban of the popular video app if its China-based owner doesn’t sell, Wednesday, March 13, 2024

But the fate of the bill remains uncertain in the more cautious Senate, where some are apprehensive about making a drastic move against an app that has 170 million users in the U.S.

‘This process was secret and the bill was jammed through for one reason: it’s a ban,’ said a spokesperson for TikTok in a statement.

‘We are hopeful that the Senate will consider the facts, listen to their constituents, and realize the impact on the economy, 7 million small businesses, and the 170 million Americans who use our service.’

After the vote, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew urged the app’s users in the United States to speak out and share their stories, including with their senators.

‘This bill gives more power to a handful of social media companies. It will also take billions of dollars out of the pockets of creators and small businesses,’ Chew said in a video posted on social media platform X.

‘It will put more than 300,000 American jobs at risk and it will take away your TikTok.

‘We believe we can overcome this together… Protect your constitutional rights. Make your voices heard.’

Former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wants to buy TikTok

Former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wants to buy TikTok

The TikTok logo is displayed at TikTok offices on March 12, 2024 in Culver City, California

The TikTok logo is displayed at TikTok offices on March 12, 2024 in Culver City, California

Majority leader Chuck Schumer, who will need to back the bill, remained non-comital, saying only that the Senate ‘will review’ the legislation when it comes over from the House.

The measure, which only gained momentum in the past few days, requires TikTok’s parent company ByteDance to sell the app within 180 days or see it barred from the Apple and Google app stores in the United States.

‘Although the United States has never found evidence that TikTok threatens US national security, it has not stopped suppressing TikTok,’ Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said, condemning it as ‘bullying behavior.’

Republican lawmakers approved the bill, in an unusual act of defiance against Donald Trump.

In a turnaround from his earlier stance, Trump on Monday said he was against a ban, mainly because it would strengthen Meta, the owner of Instagram and Facebook, which he called an ‘enemy of the people.’

When Trump was president, he attempted to wrest control of TikTok from ByteDance, but was blocked by US courts.

‘I think it will die in the Senate,’ said Representative Nancy Mace, a Trump ally. ‘This is not our job to do this.’

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