‘That’s a Lie!’: Rand Paul Clashes with Fox News Host Brian Kilmeade in Heated Battle Over Tiktok Bill

‘That’s a Lie!’: Rand Paul Clashes with Fox News Host Brian Kilmeade in Heated Battle Over Tiktok Bill

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky dueled with Fox News host Brian Kilmeade on Thursday as Paul pressed his opposition to legislation that could lead to a ban on the social media platform TikTok.

On Wednesday, the House passed a bill requiring TikTok to overhaul its ownership structure amid fears that its China-based parent company, ByteDance, is sharing information about users with the Chinese government, according to Newsweek. Failure to do so could trigger a ban on the app in the United States.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future.

Americans “choose to use TikTok to express themselves,” Paul told The Washington Post on Tuesday. “I don’t think Congress should be trying to take away the First Amendment rights of [170] million Americans.”

“I think when you’re alleged of a crime, you have to be convicted of it, so you can’t really take someone’s property in our country without a conviction,” Paul said.

“We can like or dislike TikTok — I’ve actually never looked at TikTok — but the thing is, using it or not using it, whether you own it or not own it, really has to be according to the law because there’s a real danger,” he said, arguing that the legislation could result in the muzzling of a media company such as Fox News.

Paul said the issue with TikTok’s ownership is that “the company’s owned 60 percent by international investors, 20 percent by the two Chinese software engineers who developed it — the entrepreneurs who began the business — and 20 percent by their employees, 7,000 of whom are Americans.”

“It’s not owned by the Chinese government,” Paul said, adding, “Like every other international corporation, they deserve their day in court — you can’t just take their property.”

After the two men tried to talk over each other, Paul said that Kilmeade was “making allegations against a company owned by Americans and you have to prove it in court.”

“ByteDance is owned by China,” Kilmeade said.

“No, it’s not. See, that’s a lie, and you’re defaming the country — you’re defaming the company,” Paul said, before repeating his ownership statistics.

The two then talked over each other as Kilmeade asked who owned and controlled TikTok’s algorithm, eventually answering his own question by saying, “TikTok. And who owns TikTok? ByteDance? And who owns ByteDance? The Chinese government.”

“No, they don’t,” Paul replied. “See, you’ve just told a lie, Brian. You can’t say on TV something that’s a lie about a company. That is an out-and-out lie, and it’s provably false.”

Amid cross-talk, Kilmeade said, “You’re comfortable with TikTok influencing America.”

“I’m comfortable with the Constitution,” the senator replied. “You have to — you cannot take people’s property without due process.”

Some have pointed to a possible explanation for his passionate defense of TikTok.

GOP megadonor Jeffrey Yass has given millions of dollars to Paul’s political action committees in recent years, the New York Post reported in April.

The billionaire is the CEO of Susquehanna Financial Group, which had a 15 percent stake in ByteDance worth an estimated $33 billion, according to the report.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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