Rand Paul and Brian Kilmeade THROW DOWN over TikTok ban: ‘Let me just finish!’

Sen. Rand Paul got into it with Fox News host Brian Kilmeade this Thursday morning over Congress’ attempt to ban TikTok.

Paul, a staunch libertarian-leaning Republican, argued on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” that the TikTok bill would give the government the power to attack any app/company that spreads so-called “misinformation” or has “foreign ownership.”

“And all of a sudden, they say we’re going to shut down Fox News, or we’re going to shut down Twitter, so the bill isn’t just about TikTok,”  he said. “It mentions TikTok by name, which is also a problem, because laws aren’t allowed to target one company.”


Kilmeade, a staunch Republican Republican, pushed back, arguing that banning TikTok is essential for national security purposes.

“I think national security should trump that,” he said. “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. Knowing this has been since around 2016, Gordon Chang came out and said it’s like allowing 170 million spy balloons over America.”

Paul fiercely disagreed with this assessment and pushed back by arguing TikTok isn’t really owned by the Chinese Communist government like many people assume.

“The company’s owned 60 percent by international investors, 20 percent by the two Chinese software engineers who developed it, and 20 percent by its employees, 7,000 of whom are American,”  he said. “So it’s a very diverse ownership. It’s not owned by the Chinese government.”

“In fact, on TikTok’s board, there are no Chinese nationals that control this that are associated with the government at all. They’re CEOs from Singapore. So this is an international corporation, and like every other international corporation, they deserve their day in court. You can’t just take their property,” he added.

This time Kilmeade pushed back by asking Sen. Paul whether he’d seen or attended the hearing “when the CEO of TikTok was there trying to rationalize why we should leave it in this country?”

The senator said no but then quickly pivoted to defending TikTok again, this time by pointing to the Texas Project.

The Texas Project is an effort to make TikTok safer for Americans by creating “a stand-alone version of the TikTok platform for the U.S. that is isolated inside servers in Oracle’s U.S. cloud environment but can communicate with the global TikTok service in controlled and monitored ways.”

But Kilmeade wasn’t buying this argument.

“I know about the Texas Project, and I wish it was effective but it isn’t. We put a billion dollars into it,” he said, prompting a clapback from Paul.

“That’s your opinion,” the senator said.

“No, no, nobody thinks the Texas project ….,” Kilmeade then tried to rebut, only to repeatedly be interrupted by Paul.

“Let me finish!” he said before continuing with his point. “Nobody thinks the Texas project is up and running.”

“Well I do!” Rand then interrupted again.

“Let me just finish!” Kilmeade replied. “The CEO would not ensure that Beijing would not have access to the personal information of 170 million Americans.”

“I don’t think that’s true,” Paul replied.

“It is true,” Kilmeade said.

“It is an allegation,” Paul responded. “You are making allegations against a company owned by Americans and you have to prove it.”

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

“No, it’s not,” Paul countered. “That’s a lie.”

“Who controls the algorithm? It’s not about profits. Who controls the algorithm?” Kilmeade rebutted.

“TikTok owns its own algorithm,” Paul claimed

“And who owns Tiktok? ByteDance. And who owns ByteDance? The Chinese government,” Kilmeade said.

“No they don’t. See, you’ve just told a lie. You can’t say on TV something that’s a lie about a company. TikTok is not owned by the Chinese government. TikTok is owned privately,” Paul said.

“ByteDance controls the algorithm. That’s all that matters,” Kilmeade countered.

“Let me finish,” Paul said, this time complaining about Kilmeade interrupting him.

“I’ve been listening to you,” Kilmeade said. “Who controls the algorithm? You’re comfortable with TikTok influencing America, and you believe that 60 percent of foreign ownership is ok.”

The heated back-and-forth exchange eventually concluded with Paul making his final point.

“I’m comfortable with the Constitution. You cannot take people’s property without due process,” he said. “If you believe there’s a national exemption to the Constitution then you believe that Fox News could be shut down, that Twitter could be shut down. That’s a terrible thing to believe.”

Vivek Saxena


We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. If a comment is spam, instead of replying to it please click the ∨ icon below and to the right of that comment. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.

Latest Articles