Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signaled his intention to potentially ban the popular social media app TikTok, citing national security concerns due to its ownership by a Chinese company.
In an interview with CNBC’s Brian Sullivan on “Last Call,” DeSantis expressed reservations about TikTok’s Chinese ownership, emphasizing that it could pose a threat to the United States.
“I do think it represents a threat to our country given China’s ownership of it,” DeSantis stated, responding to a question about whether he would consider banning the app. The Governor, currently trailing Donald Trump in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, further criticized U.S. policies towards China. He proposed revisiting regulatory and tax frameworks to incentivize domestic businesses to concentrate on the domestic economy.
DeSantis highlighted the complexity of the situation, acknowledging that outsourcing to China has been financially advantageous, but it has also created challenges for the United States. “There’s a reason why stuff has been outsourced to China, because it can be done cheaper and people can make more money,” he stated. “We’re in a predicament here.”
The political debate around TikTok dates back to the Trump administration, which had threatened to ban the app but never executed the action.
More recently, Congress introduced bills allowing the Biden administration to potentially ban TikTok. DeSantis described these bills as “too heavy-handed” and argued that they could infringe on privacy. However, he indicated that he might still support a ban on the app.
“The United States has been the No. 1 source of Chinese wealth, and what have they done with that wealth? They’ve built up their military,” DeSantis emphasized. “They are the top threat to this country.”
Ron DeSantis Calls on Disney CEO to Drop Lawsuit
Ron DeSantis also told CNBC that Disney should reconsider their ongoing federal lawsuit against the State of Florida over the company’s opposition to the state’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law.
DeSantis asserted: “They’re suing the state of Florida, they’re going to lose that lawsuit. So what I would say is, drop the lawsuit,” DeSantis commented. The Governor has previously signed legislation ending Disney’s self-governance authority over the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a measure that prompted the lawsuit.
While DeSantis noted his appreciation for the company’s presence in the state, he expressed the need for equal treatment among all businesses.
He affirmed, “So all we want to do is treat everybody the same and let’s move forward.” Disney’s lawsuit accuses DeSantis of retaliation due to their criticism of the state’s legislation.
The Governor highlighted Florida’s business-friendly environment and touted its impressive economic indicators, asserting that the state’s success extends to various competitors such as Universal and SeaWorld.
In his presidential campaign, DeSantis has been vocal about opposing “woke” culture and has also accused Disney of sexualizing children, an allegation that the company’s CEO, Bob Iger, refuted.
DeSantis’s involvement in these two separate controversies underscores the intersections of technology, national security, and business practices that are shaping the political landscape in Florida and beyond.
Georgia Gilholy is a journalist based in the United Kingdom who has been published in Newsweek, The Times of Israel, and the Spectator. Gilholy writes about international politics, culture, and education.