Trump vetoes a massive defense proposal despite overwhelming GOP support

Trump had previously threatened to veto the defense bill, known as the National Defense Authorization Act, because it does not include a repeal of Section 230, a law that protects Internet companies from liability for what is posted on their websites by them or third parties. .

The bill contains provisions to limit how much money Trump can move around to his border wall and another that will require the military to rename bases named after figures from the Confederacy.

“Unfortunately,” the President wrote in his veto to Congress, “the law does not contain critical national security measures, contains provisions that do not respect the history of our veterans and our military, and contradicts my government’s efforts to put America first in our national security and foreign policy actions. “It’s a ‘gift’ to China and Russia.”

Trump’s veto triggered an immediate reprimand from GOP Senator Jim Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who said the defense proposal should become law.

“The NDAA has become law every year for 59 years in a row because it is absolutely vital to our national security and our troops. This year must not be an exception. Our men and women who volunteer in uniform should not be denied, what they need – ever, “Inhofe tweeted.

The Republican Oklahoma went on to say that the defense proposal “cements all the remarkable gains our military has made thanks to the leadership of @realDonaldTrump,” adding, “I hope all my colleagues in Congress will join me in ensuring that our troops have the resources and equipment they need to defend this nation. “

Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, deputy chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Trump’s veto “poses a serious threat to U.S. national security.”

“I look forward to overriding the President’s fruitless and ridiculous attempt to undermine our national security over his shifting rationale for his decision to veto, including a provision renaming bases in honor of Confederate military leaders – a provision that many in the President’s own party has supported, “the Virginia Democrat said in a statement.

The Senate voted overwhelmingly to approve the massive funding proposal with a veto-proof majority of 84 to 13, a major reprimand to the president. Trump’s stance on the bill sharply divided GOP lawmakers and forced them to choose between loyalty to the president and legislation that sets defense policy for the country. The House of Representatives recently also passed the bill with a veto-proof majority.

It is unclear whether Republicans will again defy the president and vote to override his veto. However, several lawmakers in the House, including the top Democrat and Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, said earlier that they would cut off their vacation for Congress to return to Washington to override a veto if necessary.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized Trump’s veto as “an act of dizzying ruthlessness” in a statement on Wednesday, saying Parliament would veto the vote on December 28.

The $ 740 billion bill also includes pay raises for U.S. soldiers, modernization of equipment and regulations that require more control before troops are withdrawn from Germany or Afghanistan.

Trump highlighted paragraph 230 in his message, calling it a “very dangerous national security risk.”

He also followed the demands to change the names of military installations named after Confederate soldiers and slave owners.

“Throughout U.S. history, these rankings have had an impact on American history and those who have helped write the one that far exceeds their namesakes,” Trump said. “My administration respects the legacy of the millions of American soldiers and women who have served with honor at these military bases and who from these places have fought, softened and died for their country. From these facilities we have won two World Wars. I have been clearly in my opposition to politically motivated attempts like this to wash away history and disgrace the enormous progress our country has struggled to realize our fundamental principles, ”the statement said.

The president also said the action “directly contradicts my administration’s foreign policy, especially my efforts to bring our troops home. I am against endless wars, just as the American public does.”

While Trump’s previous veto threats attracted quick and sharp double-edged sword from lawmakers who have claimed he uses leverage over troops to settle personal scores, he has received vocal support from some allies.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican in South Carolina and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, had backed the president on his push to remove Section 230.

“I support President @ realDonaldTrump’s insistence that section 230 be repealed as part of the Defense Permit Bill,” he wrote in a three-tweet thread. “Big Tech is the only industry in America that cannot be sued for their business practices and is not meaningfully regulated. This must come to an end.”

The Conservative House Freedom Caucus announced ahead of the vote that its members would sit with Trump in his opposition to the law and also pressured other GOP members to sit with Trump.

This story has been updated with further development.

Lauren Fox contributed to this story.