GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley on Sunday upped her criticism of Republican rival Vivek Ramaswamy for pushing TikTok despite the known “dangerous” threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party.
As 150 million Americans are estimated to be actively using TikTok, Haley knocked Ramaswamy for using the Chinese-owned video sharing platform “just because it’s politically popular.”
“Fox News Sunday” host Shannon Bream asked Haley to respond to a blurb the former United Nations and South Carolina governor wrote for Ramaswamy’s book “Woke Inc.” before his presidential run. In it, Haley wrote of Ramaswamy at the time, “He urges us to lift up all Americans rather than to pit ourselves against one another. His combination of honesty, intellect and foresight are exactly what we need to overcome our challenges in the years ahead.”
“I think I always praise people when they deserve to be praised. And I hit people when they deserve to be hit,” Haley said on “Fox News Sunday.” “The book that he wrote, I supported it. I helped him. He asked me for help with it. I was happy to do it. I’ll help anybody that needs help. And it was a good book. But I think the things he’s saying now as he’s running for president is very different than that. The idea that he is saying, ‘Well, because 150 million Americans are on TikTok even though it’s dangerous, I’m going to get on it anyway,’ is not leadership. That’s just going with the crowd.”
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Without naming Haley or any other GOP 2024 contender, Ramaswamy on Saturday had attempted to call out those with “adult children” using TikTok. Ramaswamy argues Republicans need to understand “where young voters are.”
On Sunday, Bream asked Haley if Ramaswamy was talking about her children.
“My son’s not on Tik tok. My daughter was on Tik Tok up until about 2020, and I think she posted something at a bachelorette party. But look, she’s 25 years old. My job is to educate,” Haley said, pivoting back to Ramaswamy.
“But him jumping on there and making people think it’s OK. Be very careful about how people talk about TikTok,” Haley warned. “This is the Chinese Communist Party who is doing espionage. They don’t just put things on your phone in an app. They get access to your contacts, they get access to your financial data, they get access to your emails, and they spread different, dangerous things. Right now, they’re spreading things about how to use steroids and things like that for – working out. These are dangerous apps. And what I’m going to do is keep telling every American, don’t let your kids be on it, Educate them, tell them why it’s dangerous. And I’m going to keep saying that I think TikTok is dangerous. And just because 150 million people are on it doesn’t mean you do it because it’s politically, because it’s politically popular. I think that’s wrong.”
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At the second GOP presidential debate of the 2024 cycle, Ramaswamy was questioned on his decision to join TikTok after a dinner with boxer and influencer Jake Paul despite the app being banned on most government devices.
“I have a radical idea for the Republican Party. We need to win elections. And part of how we win elections is reaching the next generation of young Americans where they are,” Ramaswamy said in his defense.
Though advocating for a ban of “addictive” social media products for Americans under age 16, Ramaswamy continued, “We’re only going to ever get to declaring independence from China, which I favor, if we actually win. So while the Democrats are running rampant, reaching the next generation 3 to 1, there’s exactly one person in the Republican Party which talks a big game about reaching young people, and that’s me.”
On the debate stage, Haley quickly interjected. “This is infuriating because TikTok is of the most dangerous social media apps that we could have. And what you’ve got, I honestly, every time I hear you, I feel a little bit dumber for what you say,” she said, criticizing Ramaswamy for joining TikTok despite the Chinese government purportedly being able to access contacts, financial information and emails.
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“We can’t trust you,” Haley added, alleging Ramaswamy has ties to Chinese business dealings similar to those of Hunter Biden.
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