The Department of Defense sanctioned and even helped write an Air National Guardsman’s endorsement of TikTok, despite the Chinese social media app being banned on federal devices, Sen. Josh Hawley told The Heartlander on Wednesday.
In what smacks of Chinese Communist Party propaganda, a caption on the TikTok video by Guardsman Jon Lynch of New Hampshire reads, “Jon uses TikTok to help U.S. service members” – signaling that using the banned app is a patriotic act.
“I use my TikTok channel to spread helpful and useful information to benefit military members and their families,” particularly with information about the benefits available through military service, Lynch says at the video’s outset. “I realized there was kind of a gap between all of this military benefits knowledge and the audience that needs to know about it.”
The video is titled “TikTok Sparks Good: Giving Back to the Military Community with @itsjonlynch.”
Hawley, a Missouri senator, teamed up with New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik to demand answers about the video from the head of the National Guard Bureau.
“The video appears to serve as a de facto National Guard endorsement of TikTok’s platform,” the two lawmakers write. “This is extremely concerning given the known threats TikTok poses to Americans – especially so as TikTok is now banned on all U.S. Government devices. …
“Not only does TikTok play a leading role in manipulating American citizens’ perceptions of China generally, but influence operations like this could directly undermine the National Guard’s ability to mobilize in crisis or conflict. Additionally, TikTok’s data collection could pose threats to the operational security of National Guard operations.”
“In fact,” Hawley elaborated Wednesday in an interview with The Heartlander, “what I’m told now is, it looks like the Department of Defense actually signed off on it – the Department of Defense helped write the script. The Department of Defense gave their approval to it. I mean, you talk about terrible judgment.
“TikTok is banned for all federal devices, for all federal personnel. You can’t have it on your phones or devices. Federal contractors can’t have it. And now the Department of Defense is helping an Air National Guard(sman) make a pro-TikTok commercial. This is crazy stuff. We got to find out what’s happening here.
“Somebody signed off on it, and maybe all the way up to the Pentagon. So, we’ve got to figure out who did it.”
It’s another reason to ban TikTok nationwide, says Hawley, who has a bill before the Senate to do just that. He says the Pentagon needs to remind servicemembers that TikTok is banned on all federal devices – a ban Hawley sought and President Biden signed last year – and not to promote the app.
“It is a Chinese government app, and it’s a spy app, essentially, and we need to send that message clearly,” Hawley says.
On another China-related matter, Hawley berated U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland in a hearing this week over the Biden administration’s obstruction of U.S. energy production and mining of metals used in the very electric vehicles the administration is increasingly requiring.
Hawley asked Haaland if she knew where most of the lithium, nickel, graphite and cobalt comes from for EV batteries, which in most cases is China. She claimed not to know that.
Hawley basted Haaland “for prioritizing the Biden administration’s radical climate agenda over retaining blue-collar jobs and American energy security,” arguing that jobs are an important resource. When Haaland shrugged that off by noting “there’s like 1.9 jobs for every American in the country right now, so I know there’s a lot of jobs,” Hawley erupted.
“Wait, you’re telling me that we have too many jobs for blue-collar workers? Have you seen the number of jobs we have lost in this country to China in the last 20 years? Do you know where those jobs come from? Over 3 million jobs have gone to China. Do you know where those jobs have come from? They have come out of Midwestern towns like the ones I represent. They are blue-collar workers, and you’re sitting here and telling me that we have too many jobs in this country. Are you serious?”
Asked what he thought of Haaland’s answers, Hawley laughed.
“They were appalling,” he told The Heartlander. “I mean, just appalling. And incredibly ignorant of the conditions of workers in America. Her answer is, yes, we should trade off energy security for climate change, and her answer was, yes, we should trade off American jobs for climate change.
“She wants us to be more dependent on China. She wants American jobs to be dependent on China. She told me that we had too many jobs in America, that there were more than enough jobs, so quit complaining about the jobs. There’s plenty of jobs.
“Excuse me? We’ve lost over 3 million good-paying manufacturing jobs to China in the last two decades. We’ve seen whole communities dissolve because of jobs lost to China. And now this government wants to make us more dependent on China, and they’re telling us don’t worry about the jobs? I mean, they’ve got it completely backwards. Their No. 1 priority ought to be jobs for Americans at good wages. They’ve got it wrong.”
It’s not just the number of jobs that is the issue, but the quality and pay of them, Hawley said, adding that blue-collar workers are having more and more trouble finding good-paying jobs.
“Why? Because they’re competing against slave labor in China. Because all of these corporations have outsourced jobs to China. And this administration is for that. Don’t forget, their radical climate-change agenda is about making us dependent on China – for solar panels, for batteries, for all their climate stuff. It’s China who wins from that.”
Hawley has also taken aim at the Biden administration’s culpability in the trafficking of illegal immigrant minors into what the national media have found to be slave-like working conditions. On Wednesday he introduced a bill called the Corporate Responsibility for Child Labor Elimination Act, requiring big companies to root out child labor in their midst and providing penalties for not doing so.
“Investigations recently by the press have shown thousands of kids in slaughterhouses, working in roofing companies, working in factories overnight, denied food, denied education, not getting paid,” Hawley told The Heartlander.
“We need to root that child labor out of our supply chains, out of our big corporations. These ought to be American adults who are getting these jobs and getting paid. And all of those kids who are brought here illegally need to be sent home and the cartels need to be brought to justice for it.”
Of the big companies, many of them multinational, Hawley said, “These are the same people (who) never want to pay American workers. They always want to ship jobs overseas. They’d be happy to hire kids and pay them nothing or next-to-nothing rather than pay an American worker an honorable wage. That’s what’s going on here.”
Yet, Hawley ultimately blames President Biden for the scandal that has seemingly failed to horrify his administration. Why the lack of revulsion at the White House for what’s reportedly happening to child immigrants on its watch?
“Ah, because they don’t care,” Hawley offers. “They want that border open. They care about their ideology. They don’t care about the fact that thousands of kids are in danger for their lives. They don’t care about the fact that they are facilitating slavery, modern day slavery, here in the United States.
“They just don’t care. They don’t care at all. We’ve got to make them care. The FBI needs to go find every single one of these kids that the White House has lost, and we need to have new laws that will get rid of this child labor. And, of course, ultimately we’ve got to close the border.
“This is on Joe Biden.”
Asked why he filed his bill, Hawley explained, “Because Joe Biden has facilitated the biggest child-smuggling, child-labor operation in American history. Over 350,000 kids have come across the border, been smuggled across the border in most cases, since Biden has been president. And now thousands of them are working in child labor conditions.”