In an unprecedented move, President Trump vetoed the $740 billion Defense Budget Act for 2021 and called the legislation a gift to China and Russia. The bill passed overwhelmingly in the Democratic-controlled House.
While President Trump announced that he could veto the bill. President Trump, more than any president in recent decades, has demonstrated a very strong commitment to the military, always emphasizing the importance of “peace through force.”
On Wednesday, however, the president vetoed the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorized $740 billion in military spending by 2021. What is the rationale behind such a decision?
In the message released by the White House in which President Trump announced his veto of the act, he said his administration recognized the Act’s importance to national security. However, he warns, the Act does not include critical national security measures; it includes provisions that do not respect our veterans and the history of our military. It contradicts the administration’s efforts to put the United States first in our national security and foreign policy actions. “This is a ‘gift’ to China and Russia,” Trump said.
The president repeatedly said the NDAA must include a repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which protects internet platforms such as Facebook and Twitter from legal liability for content posted by users. The law banned by Trump on Wednesday did not include the repeal.
“The Act doesn’t even make significant changes to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, despite bipartisan calls to repeal that provision. Section 230 facilitates the dissemination of foreign disinformation online, which is a serious threat to our national security and electoral integrity. It should be repealed,” President Trump said in his official statement.
President Trump has every reason to demand that Congress address the growing distrust of Big Tech that manage content online with inconsistent policies that generate fear of censorship and political intrusion.
Last week, President Trump had already pre-announced on his Twitter account that he will veto the bill: “I will Veto the Defense Bill, which will make China very unhappy. They love it. Must have Section 230 termination, protect our National Monuments and allow for removal of military from far away, and very unappreciative, lands. Thank you!”
I will Veto the Defense Bill, which will make China very unhappy. They love it. Must have Section 230 termination, protect our National Monuments and allow for removal of military from far away, and very unappreciative, lands. Thank you! https://t.co/9rI08S5ofO
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 17, 2020
The NDAA is possibly one of the most important responsibilities of the government. Especially in these times, when the United States must fulfill its role on a global scale to collaborate in world peace. We face a rising Chinese Communist Party, an unpredictable Russia, an aggressive Iran, and a dangerous North Korea.