With President Trump’s Aug. 6 executive order banning social media video app TikTok in the United States set to go into effect Sept. 27, a federal court judge in Washington D.C. has reportedly approved a preliminary injunction blocking the order.
Chinese-based TikTok owner ByteDance Sept. 23 filed for an expedited preliminary injunction against Trump’s executive order, calling it politically motivated and lacking in merit. The Trump Administration, which is involved in ongoing trade and ethnic Muslim disputes with China, argued the TikTok app posed a threat to national security. TikTok reportedly has more than 100 million U.S. users on a monthly basis.
U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols, who was appointed to the bench by Trump in 2019, reportedly felt TikTok had not been given the proper time to defend itself in court.
“This was a largely unilateral decision with very little opportunity for plaintiffs to be heard,” said the judge as reported by the Washington Post.
Trump had initially given his public approval (in a North Carolina campaign rally) for a proposed TikTok asset sale to Oracle and Walmart. But when it was revealed that Oracle and Walmart would collectively own just 20% of new entity TikTok Global, with China controlling 80%, Trump changed his mind.
This is the second legal setback for Trump, who saw a second executive order banning China’s WeChat app overruled by a San Francisco federal magistrate, which cited First Amendment issues in ruling against the president.