Trump says he will veto $740B defense bill, breaking with Republicans


U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the daily coronavirus response briefing flanked by National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr and U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 1, 2020.

Tom Brenner | Reuters

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Thursday he will reject the sweeping defense bill that authorizes a topline of $740 billion in spending and outlines Pentagon policy.

“I will Veto the Defense Bill, which will make China very unhappy. They love it,” Trump tweeted. “Must have Section 230 termination, protect our National Monuments and allow for removal of military from far away, and very unappreciative, lands. Thank you!”

The Republican-led Senate overwhelmingly passed the National Defense Authorization Act on Friday. The more than 70 members in support of the must-pass bill is more than the two-thirds majority that would be needed to defeat Trump’s promised veto.

Congress must now vote again to override Trump.

The bill, which typically passes with strong bipartisan support and veto-proof majorities, authorizes a topline of $740 billion in spending and outlines Pentagon policy.

Trump earlier this month threatened a veto if lawmakers did not include a measure to eliminate Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects tech giants like Facebook and Twitter from being held legally liable for what is posted on their platforms.

Trump renewed the threat last week.

The president also said the measure posed a serious threat to U.S. national security as well as election integrity but did not give any further explanatory details. Trump has also said that Twitter, his social media platform of choice, has unfairly censored him.

The president’s issue with Section 230 came to light this summer after Twitter added warning labels to several of his tweets that alleged mail-in voting is fraudulent. Trump has still not conceded the election to President-elect Joe Biden.

This year’s legislation includes a 3% pay raise for U.S. troops and a plan to rename military installations bearing names of Confederate leaders.

The NDAA, in its current form, does not include any measure related to Section 230.



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