ByteDance, the China-based company that owns video-sharing app TikTok, said it was not told that $5 billion of its deal with Walmart and Oracle would go to President Donald Trump’s so-called “patriotic education” initiative.
Trump told a campaign rally Saturday that money from TikTok’s sale would fund his proposal to educate children about “the real history of our country ― the real history, not the fake history.”
Trump also gave his blessing to the sale of TikTok’s U.S. operation to Walmart and Oracle, corporations with major Trump campaign donors in senior positions. The administration pushed for the sale as a condition of allowing the app to continue operating in the U.S.
Reuters was the first to report ByteDance’s response, which it posted to its own Chinese news and information site Toutiao. “The company has been committed to investing in the education field, and plans to work with partners and global shareholders to launch online classroom projects based on AI and video technology for students around the world,” ByteDance said.
In recent months and with a presidential election looming, Trump has leaned heavily into racist rhetoric as a tool to excite his largely white base.
Trump on Friday announced the formation of the “1776 Commission” as a reaction to efforts to include lessons about slavery and racism in America’s schools, such as The New York Times’ 1619 Project. Numerous schools have incorporated content from the project, created by reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones, in an effort to improve their teaching about the role of race in American history.
Conservative media and Republican lawmakers across the U.S. have expressed outrage that the project’s revelations about the history of racism do not portray the country in a positive light, with some even calling it propaganda.
Trump has also argued that there is no systemic racism in the U.S. Trump made that unsubstantiated comment after a white police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shot 29-year-old Black man Jacob Blake in the back seven times.
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