Jun 2, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Trump joins TikTok, outpaces Biden campaign for followers in hours

The TikTok logo is displayed in the app store in this arranged photograph in view of a video feed of U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020.

The TikTok logo is displayed in the app store in this arranged photograph in view of a video feed of U.S. President Donald Trump in London, U.K., on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020. Photographer: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former President Trump launched an official TikTok account last night, embracing a platform that's besieged on Capitol Hill.

Why it matters: President Biden has tried to split the difference. His campaign is on it as @BidenHQ. But he isn't personally, Axios' Alex Thompson notes.

Trump appeared in his inaugural TikTok as he attended a UFC title bout in Newark, N.J.

  • The video begins with Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White announcing at Trump's side: "The president is now on TikTok."

By the numbers: Trump's video had racked up 2.2 million likes and over 38 million views as of 1:15 ET Sunday.

  • Trump's account has gained 2.1 million followers since last night's launch. That's more than six times the followers of the Biden campaign's account, which launched in February.

What they're saying: "We will leave no front undefended ... [T]his represents the continued outreach to a younger audience consuming pro-Trump and anti-Biden content," Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung said.

  • "There's no place better than a UFC event to launch President Trump's TikTok ... [H]e received a hero's welcome and thousands of fans cheered him on."

Worth noting: "An internal analysis found nearly twice as many pro-Trump posts as pro-Biden ones on TikTok since November, a sign of the right's use of a liberal-friendly platform," the N.Y. Times reports.

Between the lines: Trump, who tried to ban the app while in office, has been trying to appeal to young voters by attacking Biden for recently signing a bill requiring TikTok to divest from its parent company ByteDance.

  • Trump's son, Don Jr., has been using the app. The pro-Trump super PAC MAGA Inc. also joined.

Behind the scenes: The White House has met with liberal influencers to reassure them Biden isn't looking to ban the app.

  • Some Biden aides think the campaign should have joined TikTok earlier and been more aggressive. But there's wariness over national security.

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