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Donald Trump Joins TikTok After Trying to Ban the App as President

3 minute read

Former U.S. President Donald Trump has joined TikTok. His first video, posted on Saturday night, shows him arriving at a UFC 302 fight. The move to TikTok comes despite Trump's previous attempts to ban the app as President in 2020.

Trump’s first TikTok video sees him join forces with UFC CEO Dana White. Joe Rogan, podcaster and UFC color commentator, was also in attendance at the fight, and was seen shaking hands with Trump. In the opening of the TikTok clip, Trump says it’s his “honor” to be on the social media platform.

The video features a montage of crowd reactions to Trump's arrival, including a spectator taking a photo with the former President, who can be seen pointing and waving at fans. These videos are short slices, seemingly taken on a digital phone camera, with Kid Rock’s song “American Bad Ass,” playing in the background. This is the same song that Trump walked out to when he entered the arena.

Trump signs off the video clip by saying, “That was a good walk on, right?”

The former President and current Republican frontrunner for renomination’s attendance at the UFC fight between Islam Makhachev and Dustin Poirier in Newark, New Jersey, and his arrival on TikTok comes days after he was found guilty in the historic hush-money trial.

Read More: President Biden’s Campaign Is on TikTok

Trump was convicted of 34 charges related to activity around the 2016 election. He was accused of falsifying business records that showed hush-money payments to former porn actor Stormy Daniels. The guilty verdict results in the first-ever criminal conviction of a former U.S. President. Trump’s upcoming sentencing is set for July 11.

During his presidency, Trump tried to ban TikTok. He signed an executive order to ban the video platform unless it was acquired by an American company, alleging the Chinese government was using the video-sharing service to surveil millions of Americans. He said that apps owned by companies in China “threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States,” in the executive order.

Though the executive order never went into effect since it was shot down in federal court, Trump changed his tune earlier this year in March.

President Biden signed into law in April a bill that would ban TikTok in the U.S. if the social media platform’s China-based owner doesn’t sell its stake within a year. However, Trump has said there could be some utility in keeping TikTok.

Read More:Why Trump Flipped on TikTok

“Frankly, there are a lot of people on TikTok that love it,” he told CNBC. “There are a lot of young kids on TikTok who will go crazy without it.”

Many young voters utilize TikTok to receive their news, according to a recent Pew Research study, which found that one-third of American adults under 30 regularly scroll the app for news. According to the study, this number has grown substantially since 2020. 

In the 2020 elector, a major factor contributing to President Biden’s victory over Trump was the youth vote. According to another study by the Pew Research Center, Biden voters were generally younger than Trump voters, with nearly half of Biden voters younger than 50, compared to 39% of Trump voters.
Among all U.S. adults, the study shares that the number of those who regularly get news from TikTok has more than quadrupled, from 3% in 2020 to 14% in 2023.

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