Tuesday Briefing

As president, Donald Trump pushed for TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, to sell the platform or face a ban in the U.S.Credit…Scott McIntyre for The New York Times

Republicans targeted TikTok, despite Trump’s objection

House Republican leaders are trying to pass legislation that would force the Chinese owners of TikTok to sell the platform or face a U.S. ban on the app, even after former President Donald Trump spoke out against such a move.

The legislation is progressing quickly on Capitol Hill during an election year in which both Democrats and Republicans are eager to demonstrate toughness on China. (It is not clear whether the bill would pass the Senate, but President Biden has said he would sign it.)

The bill would remove TikTok from app stores in the U.S. by Sept. 30 unless its Beijing-based parent company, ByteDance, sold its stake. Trump, as president, issued an executive order that would have done the same thing, but it was blocked by repeated rulings from federal courts; now he has changed course and is opposing the bill.

Trump offered a rambling explanation for his reversal, saying that he did not want to alienate young voters or empower Facebook, which he considers a foe.

Background: Congressional Republicans walked away in January from a bipartisan border security bill, which they had largely supported, after Trump spoke out against it. If Republican legislators change their minds about TikTok, it could be another indication of Trump’s control over the party.

Related: Here’s why the U.S. and other nations consider TikTok a possible security risk.

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