PanamaTimes

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

This former Trump White House official says Republicans are 'such nerds' for pushing a 'ridiculous' ban on TikTok

This former Trump White House official says Republicans are 'such nerds' for pushing a 'ridiculous' ban on TikTok

John McEntee, co-founder of the conservative dating app The Right Stuff, says he's "pro-TikTok" and uses the platform to reach a wider audience.

Republicans have largely led the charge on trying to ban TikTok nationwide, drawing on fears that China is using the popular video-sharing app to gather data on US citizens for malicious purposes.

But John McEntee, who worked as a top White House staffer when former President Donald Trump attempted to ban the app via executive order, says he's unabashedly "pro-TikTok" and insists the push from the right to ban the Chinese-owned app is "ridiculous."

"I think Republicans are such nerds for even doing this," McEntee, the one-time Director of the Official of Presidential Personnel, told Insider in an interview on Thursday.

McEntee, 32, began his political career as Trump's personal assistant during the 2016 campaign. Fired by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly in 2018 amid an investigation into his finances, he was later brought back on by Trump after Kelly's own firing and installed as the head of the personnel office in 2020.

In that job, he reportedly scrutinized White House staffers for their perceived loyalty and played a significant role in the effort to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the election results on January 6, 2021.

But today, he's playing a far different role — attempting to build a fledgling right-wing dating app called "The Right Stuff" from an office based in Southern California.

The venture, backed by right-wing billionaire Peter Thiel, has attracted some controversy and while struggling to build a strong user base. One of the prompts on the app asks users for their opinion about January 6, which McEntee said was "actually kind of an interesting conversation starter."

"Some people think, 'Wow, that was amazing that people stood up and protested,' right? And others think that was the worst thing ever for our party," said McEntee. "Others think it was embarrassing, some people think it was, you know, infiltrated by the feds."

Recently, McEntee and his team have turned to TikTok with the explicit goal of leveraging the app's famed algorithm to reach a broader audience.

"You're not gonna really go viral on YouTube anymore," said McEntee. "That had its day."
The Right Stuff's TikTok page is chock-full of attempts at going viral, including skits caricaturing liberals for extreme cautiousness about COVID-19 protocols, various jokes about pronouns and gender identity, or videos showcasing that McEntee remains single.

And they've attracted attention along the way.

In one widely-viewed TikTok, McEntee dances to Demi Lovato's "La La Land" while riffing on liberals attending their first protest, making hand-horns as Lovato sings the phrase "converse with my dress."

The clip, which has amassed millions of views, has apparently spawned widespread mockery among TikTok's predominantly-liberal user base, with users leaving variations of the phrase "converse" surrounded by hand-horn emojis on other skits on the page.
"They make fun of me as much as I make fun of them, you know?" said McEntee.

Nonetheless, McEntee says that the TikTok push is working, and that app downloads spike whenever one of The Right Stuff's videos goes viral. He estimated that The Right Stuff has "somewhere between 40,000 and 50,000 monthly active users" and that the company had approximately 16,000 downloads in March — up from just 4,000 in January. (App intelligence firm Sensor Tower estimates the app had about 10,000 downloads last month.)


'Okay, China got one on us'


But the TikTok promotion efforts come amid the backdrop of renewed calls, especially from his own party, to ban an app that's said to have 150 million users in the United States.

Republican senators like Josh Hawley of Missouri and Marco Rubio of Florida speak of the app in ominous terms, warning of the potential impact on children and the looming threat of the Chinese Communist Party. Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, the chairman of a new House select committee on China, has labeled the app "digital fentanyl."

But McEntee says he remains unconvinced of the arguments around malign Chinese influence, arguing that TikTok's data practices are "pretty much similar to every other app" and that Republicans just "think they're throwing red meat to their base" by being tough on China.

"It is a Chinese company," McEntee acknowledged. "But you know, okay, China got one on us. They made a better product. It's like, too bad."

"What, China knows I like watching videos of a guy who makes things out of chocolate?" he continued. "So what?"

He also argued that Republicans are focusing on TikTok because they're unwilling to go after Big Tech writ large.

"They're not going to do the hard thing, right? They're not going to take on Google and Facebook," he said. "But they see an opportunity by using China."

McEntee also said that despite his political differences with Rep. Jamaal Bowman, he "could not agree more" with the New York Democrat's declaration that Republicans want to ban TikTok because they "ain't got no swag."


 Nonetheless, McEntee says that he does expect the app to eventually be banned in some manner.

"We'll just keep using it until they ban it, and then we'll move on," he said. "But it's been great for our business."

Newsletter

Related Articles

PanamaTimes
0:00
0:00
Close
El Salvador's Bitcoin Holdings Reach $350 Million
Teens Forming Friendships with AI Chatbots
WhatsApp Rolls Out Major Redesign
Neuralink's First Brain Implant Experiences Issue
Apple Unveils New iPad Pro with M4 Chip, Misleading AI Claims
OpenAI to Announce Google Search Competitor
Apple Apologizes for Controversial iPad Pro Ad Featuring Instrument Destruction
German politician of the AFD party, Marie-Thérèse Kaiser was just convicted & fined $6,000+
Changpeng Zhao Sentenced to Four Months in Jail
Biden Administration to Relax Marijuana Regulations
101-Year-Old Woman Mistaken for a Baby by American Airlines: Comical Mix-Up during Flight Check-in
King Charles and Camilla enjoying the Inuit voice singing performance in Canada.
New Study: Vaping May Lower Fertility in Women Trying to Get Pregnant
U.S. DOJ Seeks Three-Year Sentence for Binance Founder Changpeng Zhao
Headlines - Thursday, 23 April 2024
Illinois Woman Wins $45M Lawsuit Against Johnson & Johnson and Kenvue for Mesothelioma Linked to Baby Powder
Panama's lates news for Friday, April 19
Creative menu of a Pizza restaurant..
You can be a very successful player, but a player with character is another level!
Experience the Future of Dining: My Visit to an AI-Powered Burger Joint
Stabbing rampage terror attack in Sydney, at least four people killed, early reports that a baby was among those stabbed.
Iran fired more than 300 drones and missiles at Israel overnight. Israel Reports Light Damage After Iran Launches Large Strike.
I will never get enough of his videos and the pure joy and beauty of these women!!
Scientists at the University of Maryland have developed an "invisibility cloak", for AI using adversarial patterns on a sweater, making the wearer nearly undetectable to standard object detection methods.
Lamborghini Bids Farewell to Its Best-Selling Sports Car: The Huracán
Sam Bankman-Fried Appeals 25-Year Prison Sentence for $8bn FTX Fraud
OJ Simpson, ex-NFL star who was acquitted of murder, dies aged 76
British Backpacker Imprisoned in Notorious Bolivian Prison: Family Raises Funds for Legal Fight and Essentials
Argentina: Venezuela Cuts Power to Embassy after Opposition Meeting
El Salvador Offers 5,000 Passports to Skilled Foreign Workers: Tax-Free Relocation and Citizenship
Panama Papers Trial Begins: Founders of Mossack Fonseca Face Money-Laundering Charges
75 Becomes the New 65: Retiring in Your 60s Unrealistic as Life Expectancy Increases and Costs Rise
Total Solar Eclipse of 2021: 32 Million Witness the Mystical, $1.5bn Spectacle Sweep Across North America
New shopping experience…
New world, new reality, let’s get used to it
UK Company Passes Milestone in Developing Space-Based Solar Power, Aiming to Power a Million Homes and Provide Constant Energy
Mexico Breaks Diplomatic Ties with Ecuador after Police Storm Embassy, Arrest Former Vice President
Monty Python were so ahead of their time
If there's a will, there's a way!
Rules about how to dress are important, but not so much if you have a lot of money.
Body Armor Firm Showcases Stab-Proof Vest in Demo on CEO
Mexico Cuts Diplomatic Ties with Ecuador After Embassy Stormed in Quito
Here is a tattoo idea, for engineers
Zoraya Ter Beek, a 28-year-old woman from the Netherlands, will undergo euthanasia in May due to severe mental health challenges
Here's a video featuring Fidel Castro, where he discusses his stance against war and his commitment to preserving life, positions that have put him at odds with the USA:
Woman reaches behind and steals gun from a security guard and shoots three people while getting detained in Chile
Take a walk around the safe and thriving downtown San Salvador.
Joe Biden criticised by Trump campaign for declaring Transgender Day of Visibility on Easter Sunday
Macron says France will help Brazil develop nuclear-powered submarines
A video demonstrating women's self defense class in 1930
×