‘You Just Told A Lie!’: Fox Host Spars With Sen. Rand Paul Over China, TikTok

[Screenshot/Fox News]

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul sparred with Fox News’s Brian Kilmeade over banning TikTok as a national security concern against China.

The House passed a bill that intends to ban the popular app, TikTok, if the China-based company ByteDance does not sell it. The senator, who opposes the bill, argued the legislation violates the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states that there must be due process to take something away from a private citizen.

Kilmeade argued in favor of the legislation by stating it is protecting Americans’ national security, given that the Chinese Communist Party has reportedly had the ability to spy on Americans through the app.

“The bill isn’t just about TikTok,” Paul said. “It mentions TikTok by name, which is also a problem because laws are not allowed to target one company. There’s also a danger that goes beyond that.”

“So I want you to hear with FBI. In terms of banning it, I think national security should trump that and being that we’re finding out that Beijing is designing this algorithm to help divide America over the hot issues that you debate every day in Congress, from race, to gender and all these other things. Knowing that it’s been around since 2016, Gordon Chang came out and says it’s like allowing 170 million spy balloons over America,” Kilmeade said.

Kilmeade further questioned whether certain countries posing a national security threat to America should be owning entities in the U.S. Paul argued TikTok is not owned by the Chinese government nor are there Chinese officials on the social media company’s board.

“So this is an international corporation and like every other international corporation, they deserve their day in court,” the senator said. “You can’t just take their property. Look, I have a lot of arguments with the Chinese communists, a lot of our Saudi authoritarians, but I’m not saying we should allow banning anybody from doing business with the Saudis because they have an unsavory government as well and because they spy on their people.” (RELATED: Beijing Scrambles To Defend TikTok Amid Looming Threat Of US Ban)

“Senator, did you see the hearing or were you part of that hearing … when the CEO of TikTok was there trying to rationalize why we should leave it in this country?” Kilmeade asked.

Paul said TikTok has given U.S. officials in Texas access to their data in order to stay open in the country. Kilmeade argued that the project failed and that U.S. national security is still uncertain.

“I know about the Texas project. I wish it was effective, but it isn’t,” Kilmeade said. “We put $1 billion into it, or they did. But, he could not ensure that ByteDance —”

“That’s your opinion, Brian,” Paul interjected. “That’s your opinion, it’s not a fact.”

“Nobody thinks the Texas project — no, but nobody thinks —”

“It’s your opinion,” the senator interrupted.

“Let me finish,” the Fox News host said. “Nobody thinks the Texas project is up and running.”

“Well I do, so you think that nobody believes that it is —” the senator said.

“Let me just finish. They could not answer, the CEO could not assure that Beijing would not have access to our personal information for 170 million Americans,” Kilmeade said.

The senator claimed Kilmeade’s remark is an “accusation,” continuing to defend Americans’ said right to use TikTok.

“Who owns that company?” Kilmeade chided. “Who owns that company? ByteDance. ByteDance is owned by China.”

“No, it’s not. See, that’s a lie and you’re defaming the country,” Paul told Kilmeade. “You’re defeating the company.”

The senator accused Kilmeade of lying that TikTok is owned by the Chinese government, outlining that it is an internationally owned company without mentioning that Chinese-owned ByteDance owns the algorithm. He said if Kilmeade believes TikTok can be shut down, then he also believes Fox News and other companies can be shut down by the government.

Experts found that the Chinese government offers its nation’s children a beneficial, educational version of TikTok while U.S. children are exposed to an “opium version.” The Chinese equivalent of TikTok, Douyin, gives kids under 14 years of age a 40-minute daily limit and serves them patriotic and educational content.

Fifteen House Republican voted against the bill, including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Nancy Mace of South Carolina and Andy Biggs of Arizona. These representatives were among the 65 congressmen who voted against the legislation over First Amendment concerns.

“This bill would open Pandora’s box and create a slippery slope for future government censorship of Americans and our precious First Amendment,” Greene said.

President Joe Biden signaled he would sign the legislation if it reached his desk.

“If they pass it, I’ll sign it,” Biden said before boarding Air Force One during a March 8 trip to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Those in support of the legislation have expressed concern of the Chinese Communist Party gathering information on TikTok users and its potential harm to young Americans.