President Donald Trump vetoed the National Defense Authorization Act Wednesday at the White House.
The president cited the act’s failure to remove Section 230 protections for large tech companies and the effort to scrub Confederate symbols from the military as part of the reason for his veto.
“Unfortunately, the Act fails to include critical national security measures, includes provisions that fail to respect our veterans and our military’s history, and contradicts efforts by my Administration to put America first in our national security and foreign policy actions,” Trump wrote in his veto statement. “It is a ‘gift’ to China and Russia.”
Prior to the bill passing the Senate, Trump demanded that the bill include a provision to end Section 230 protections for tech companies in the Communications Communications Decency Act. The Senate did not include it before passing the bill 84-13.
“Your failure to terminate the very dangerous national security risk of Section 230 will make our intelligence virtually impossible to conduct without everyone knowing what we are doing at every step,” Trump wrote.
Section 230 allows social media companies to act as platforms not held legally responsible for content posted by users on their website. In recent years, platforms like Facebook and Twitter abused their protections by enacting draconian censorship and removal of conservative users from their service, calling their neutrality into question.
The president also criticized the bill for moving to eliminate Confederate history from the Department of defense, especially the attempt to rename prominent military bases.
“I have been clear in my opposition to politically motivated attempts like this to wash away history and to dishonor the immense progress our country has fought for in realizing our founding principles,” he wrote.
The bill will create an eight-member commission to develop a plan to purge Confederate names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia in the Department of Defense. The commission will have a $2 million budget, with a report due October 2021. It will also be legally required to act within the next three years.
The president also defended his record of funding the military, including a record $2 trillion in spending since he became president.
“No one has worked harder, or approved more money for the military, than I have,” he wrote, boasting that he rebuilt the military during his presidency.
Congress will likely overwritde the president’s veto of the defense bill, as it passed the House and the Senate with veto-proof majorities.