U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, speaking with guests at the ITR/NFIB Tax Day lunch on Friday, February 28, 2020.

DES MOINES, Iowa – During a press call on Tuesday, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, told Caffeinated Thoughts that she supports a federal ban on TikTok and other Chinese social media apps.

“I do not have it on my phone. I will not download them on my phone. I won’t watch any TikTok productions, or whatever they are, because it’s just another way that China is using these various platforms to collect data on us as Americans,” she said. 

“They can use it for subversive tech techniques like influencing, you know if you want to talk about influencing elections, China’s right up there. So we certainly want to make sure that we are protecting our information, our data strengths within the United States, and I think TikTok has no part of what we should be doing as an American society,” Ernst added.

India has banned TikTok, and Australia is considering doing that as well over mass surveillance and propaganda concerns about the Chinese-owned social media app.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Laura Ingraham on Fox News Monday night that the U.S. is taking concerns about TikTok and other Chinese social media apps “very seriously” and are considering a ban.

“We’re certainly looking at it. We have worked on this very issue for a long time, whether it was the problems of having Huawei technology in your infrastructure. We’ve gone all over the world, and we’re making real progress getting that out. We declared ZTE a danger to American national security. We have done all of these things. With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right, too, Laura. I don’t want to get out in front of the president, but it’s something we’re looking at,” he said.

When Ingraham asked Pompeo whether Americans should download TikTok onto their phones, he replied, “Only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”

The focus of the press call that Ernst held with Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann was to discuss ending U.S. dependence on China, the subject of her first campaign ad.

Ernst said that ending U.S. dependence on China includes “reinventing America’s supply chain and bringing critical jobs and manufacturing back home.”

She said that after talking with Iowans all over the state, they agree that American dependence on China needs to end. 

“We rely on China for far too much from technology to medicine, and so I’m fighting to bring it home,” Ernst said. “And while President Trump and I remain tough on China, Teresa Greenfield’s silence of how to hold China accountable continues to show just how unprepared she is to lead at this critical moment.”

She reminded the press that former Vice President Joe Biden said China is not competition for the United States.

“I know Miss Greenfield refuses to take positions on critical issues facing Iowa because she’s afraid to tell the truth. Nonetheless, Iowans deserve to know if she agrees with Joe Biden, that China is not competition for us, or will she take a stand for Iowa by supporting my efforts to bring jobs back to the United States and produce the needed medical and technology here at home, instead of relying on Communist China?” Ernst said.

“Where is Miss Greenfield, and what is her plan for Communist China?” she asked.

Listen to the full press call below:

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