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News / Politics

Trump joins TikTok to step up fight for young voters with Biden

By Stephanie Lai and Michael Sin, , Bloomberg News (TNS),
Published: June 2, 2024, 2:16pm

Former President Donald Trump joined TikTok, the Chinese-owned platform he once tried to ban in the U.S., as the presumptive 2024 Republican nominee steps up efforts to reach young voters.

Fresh from being convicted in the first criminal trial of a former U.S. president, Trump made his debut on the video-sharing app with a 13-second clip alongside Ultimate Fighting Championship CEO Dana White. “It’s my honor,” Trump said in the video, which cuts to scenes of fans cheering for him at a UFC fight in Newark, New Jersey.

Trump, who polls suggest is leading President Joe Biden among voters in most of seven key swing states, has been seeking to shift attention away from his case since last week’s verdict.

He touted a 24-hour fundraising record of almost $53 million immediately after the jury found him guilty in the New York trial. He also announced a grass-roots initiative to court volunteers to canvass neighborhoods for the election in November.

Ahead of Trump’s starting a personal account, his main super political action committee joined TikTok last month.

“We will leave no front undefended and this represents the continued outreach to a younger audience consuming pro-Trump and anti-Biden content,” Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung said in a statement Sunday.

Trump’s TikTok membership was reported earlier by Politico.

TikTok’s fate has become a election-year issue as its Chinese parent, ByteDance Ltd., faces a deadline to sell its stake in the company or face a ban in U.S. app stores. TikTok is suing the U.S. government over the law, which was backed by congressional Republicans and Biden in a bid to address concerns that the Chinese government could access user data or influence what’s seen on the app.

More than 170 million Americans have accounts on the popular platform, according to the company, including many Gen-Z and millennial voters who both Biden and Trump have been courting. Biden’s decision to sign the divest-or-ban law has drawn blowback from younger voters on the app, including some influencers who have backed his reelection bid.

Trump has criticized Biden’s decision even though he tried to force a sale of the app as president. He blamed Biden for “banning TikTok” in a post on his social media platform in April, saying he was addressing “especially the young people.”