Trump: US Should Get ‘Very Substantial’ Portion of TikTok Sale Price

Will give Microsoft a September 15 deadline to make deal on Chinese company

President Trump’s hostility toward Chinese company TikTok has shifted from ban threats to a cynical attempt to solicit a payoff from US company Microsoft in return for being allowed by Trump to purchase TikTok.

Trump went into the weekend suggesting a ban was coming in a matter of days. On Monday, he gave Microsoft or some other US company a deadline of September 15 to make a deal. Trump says either TikTok would be sold or it will be “going out of business” from a personal ban.

More shocking than the ultimatum was Trump’s declaration at the White House that a “substantial portion” of the sale price Microsoft would pay for TikTok should be coming directly to the US Treasury Department, reimbursing the US for allowing them to buy it.

“The United States should be reimbursed or paid because without the United States they don’t have anything,” Trump said, adding it is “a little bit like the landlord tenant. Without a lease, the tenant has nothing. So they pay what’s called key money or something.”

Key money is a form of payment without consideration, illegal in many countries and considered a practical form of bribery within the real estate market. In esssence, compensation is paid to a third party (the US in this case) for permitting an exchange of ownership between TikTok and Microsoft.

Needless to say, that is not the way things historically work in the United States. The Treasury Department has so far refused to comment on the matter, while the White House has yet to offer any clarification of Trump’s intentions.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of