Trump Wants $5 Billion From TikTok Deal for History Project
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump said Saturday he wants $5 billion from companies creating a new U.S.-based TikTok venture directed toward teaching American children “the real history of our country.”
Trump said Saturday that he had approved a transaction between Oracle Corp., Walmart Inc. and ByteDance Ltd. to create a new company called TikTok Global to run the U.S. video-sharing app. As part of the arrangement, Trump told reporters at the White House the companies agreed to contribute $5 billion to an education foundation.
Later, during a campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Trump said “we’re going to be setting up a very large fund for the education of American youth.”
He told his rally audience that in conversation with leaders of the companies, he said “do me a favor, could you put up $5 billion into a fund for education, so we can educate people as to real history of our country -- the real history, not the fake history.”
On Thursday, Trump delivered a speech at the National Archives in Washington, in which he attacked the 1619 Project, a school curriculum created by the New York Times that orients American history from the date the first slaves arrived in the country.
Trump said that in response, he would create “a national commission to promote patriotic education” that he calls the “1776 commission.”
The next day, Trump spoke by phone with Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison and Walmart Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon. He told them he still wanted the government to receive a payment as part of a deal, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The president wants to use the $5 billion from the TikTok deal for the “patriotic education” program, according to one of the people. However, the new U.S. TikTok company will control the money and choose how it’s invested.
The new company intends to hold an initial public offering in about a year, according to people familiar with the matter. TikTok plans to use the proceeds from the listing for the $5 billion grant, one of the people said.
ByteDance first heard about the $5 billion education fund from news reports, a company spokeswoman said.
Trump’s proposed “1776 Commission” has alarmed many Democrats, who fear the president is seeking to diminish or obscure the role of slavery in U.S. history.
“We will stop the radical indoctrination of our students and restore patriotic education to our schools,” he said at the rally. “Patriotic education,” he repeated, describing it as teaching children “to love our country, honor our history and always respect our great American flag.”
Trailing Joe Biden in polls ahead of his re-election, Trump has made explicit appeals to White voters, including repeated promises to keep low-income housing out of suburban areas.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.