TikTok Feud: Hawley says Rand Paul defends China’s right to spy on Americans

Senator Josh Hawley accused fellow Republican Rand Paul of campaigning for China’s right to spy on Americans after Mr. Paul torpedoed Mr. Hawley’s efforts to pass legislation banning TikTok on Wednesday.

Mr. Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, tried Wednesday night to advance his proposal to block the China-founded app by unanimous approval without a roll-call vote, but Mr. Paul disagreed.

The Kentucky Republican said fears of China’s communism should not prompt Congress to ignore Americans’ rights by banning TikTok.

“Those concerned that the Chinese government may somehow have access to the information of millions of Americans now, be aware that all social media is sucking up personal information that people volunteer,” Mr. Paul said in the Senate. “If you want to ban TikTok, what next?”

Before backing a nationwide ban on TikTok, Mr. Paul encouraged Americans to consider whether they want President Biden, or a future president, to censor information.

Mr Hawley said he was outraged by Mr Paul’s argument for allowing TikTok to continue operating in the US

TikTok’s China-based parent company ByteDance has sparked concerns from lawmakers who fear China’s military-civilian fusion policy will force cooperation between the company and the communist government.

Mr. Hawley said Mr. Paul’s defense of TikTok was a defense of China’s right to spy on Americans.

“The Kentucky senator mentions the Bill of Rights, I must have missed the right of Chinese governments to spy on Americans in our Bill of Rights, because that’s what we’re talking about here,” Mr. Hawley said.

Mr. Paul said he was opposed to Communism but would not take First Amendment advice from people who did not agree that freedom of speech protections extended to supporters of Communism. He then warned Americans to beware of “people who peddle fear” and peddle half-truths.

“Those who believe the First Amendment does not protect this speech are wrong and they will find out when the Supreme Court rules,” Mr. Paul said. “I object.”

Mr Hawley replied that “truth will prevail” and he will continue to fight for restrictions on TikTok.

Mr. Hawley’s legislation is not the only Senate bill proposing restrictions on TikTok, and other proposals have bipartisan support.

Sens. Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, and John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, have led a coalition of 18 senators on legislation authorizing Mr Biden to ban TikTok.

Sens. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, and Angus King, a Maine independent who sides with Democrats, have been working separately on a bill banning TikTok with Democratic and Republican lawmakers who have introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

Mr. Hawley’s efforts to advance his legislation came after Mr. Paul published an op-ed in Louisville’s Courier Journal defending the TikTok app against proposed bans. Mr Paul said banning TikTok would result in Republicans losing elections for many years.

Source : www.washingtontimes.com

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