President Trump took to the White House podium this afternoon, and left a TikTok deal hanging in limbo.
- "So we have some great options and maybe we can keep a lot of people happy," Trump punted when asked about a potential timeline.
The state of play: Hours earlier, the Commerce Department issued an order blocking new downloads of the app, along with Tencent-owned WeChat, in the U.S. as of Sunday.
- It would allow TikTok to continue operating through at least Nov. 12 — after Election Day — for those who already have it on their phones.
- By removing TikTok from U.S. app stores, it would likely prevent any updates or security patches to the app after this weekend.
Between the lines, via Axios' Dan Primack: It's surprising that Commerce got ahead of Trump — were he to accept TikTok's proposed deal with Oracle, then there would be no need for the Commerce rules.
- It's also worth remembering that TikTok has an existing lawsuit to block the executive order that banned it, based on both process and substance (it has a better chance of winning on the former than on the latter).
- Without an announcement from Trump, expect TikTok to file for an emergency injunction before courts close in California.
The bottom line: Don't lose sight of how abnormal this all is.
- A company with hundreds of U.S. employees and around 100 million U.S. users waited for most of the day to see if one man would publicly decide if it can continue operating.
🎧 Go deeper: The "Axios Re:Cap" podcast digs into how TikTok users have responded to the drama with the New York Times' Taylor Lorenz.