Former Republican presidential contender (and a potential future president) Marco Rubio has sent a letter to the Trump Administration urging it to reject the proposed Oracle-TikTok deal, which would leave TikTok as an independent, US-based company, because ByteDance, TikTok's parent, will retain a majority stake.
Rubio is apparently leading a group of GOP senators in the effort.
Rubio and a group of Republican senators just sent a letter to the Trump administration outlining their concerns over a proposed deal to allow Bytedance to maintain ownership of TikTok, despite earlier calls by Trump to sell the Chinese-owned app to an American buyer.— Shelly Banjo (@sbanjo) September 16, 2020
"We remain opposed to any deal that would allow China-based or controlled entities to retain, control or modify the code or algorithms that operate any U.S.-based version of TikTok...strongly urge the Admin to reject such a proposal on national security grounds" letter said.— Shelly Banjo (@sbanjo) September 16, 2020
This deal is anything but done as CFIUS continues to review the proposed deal and the Sept. 20 is nearing. BUT Trump and CFIUS can always provide an extension... so the saga could continue.— Shelly Banjo (@sbanjo) September 16, 2020
The letter is the latest sign that opposition to the deal is growing in the GOP-controlled Senate. Rubio's letter follows a similar letter sent by his colleague Josh Hawley, another China hawk, who is concerned the company won't face nearly enough scrutiny. Hawley is advocating for a "clean break" between ByteDance and TikTok, something Beijing would, in all likelihood, never allow.
According to Reuters, Rubio's letter specifically questioned whether Oracle's workarounds would be successful at safeguarding user data, and that "serious questions" remain. The letter is addressed to President Trump. The White House hasn't yet commented, but Trump has said he's happy with the deal, and is "a fan" of Oracle founder Larry Ellison.
Hawley also put forth a bill barring TikTok from being installed on all devices issued to federal employees.
Earlier, Fox Business reported that CFIUS has either approved, or had decided to approve, the TikTok deal, though the official word isn't yet in, and a last-minute lobbying effort to sabotage the deal, which has already been moderately restructured once.