US President Donald Trump speaks after the swearing-in ceremony of James Mattis as Secretary of Defense on January 27, 2017 at the Pentagon in Washington, DC.
Almond Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump threatened another veto on Thursday against a colossal defense bill if lawmakers fail to remove legal protections for social media companies.
Trump is calling for the repeal of a federal law known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects tech giants like Facebook and Twitter from legal liability for what is posted on their platforms.
On Wednesday, Trump described the provision as a “liability protection gift” for “Big Tech” and called for its “complete termination”, as otherwise he would reject this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The president also said the move posed a serious threat to US national security and electoral integrity, but did not provide any further explanation. Trump has also said that Twitter, his favorite social media platform, wrongly censored him.
The President’s problem with Section 230 came to light this summer after Twitter added warnings to several of its tweets that alleged mail-in polls were fraudulent. Trump has still not allowed Democrat Joe Biden to hold the US presidential election.
The NDAA, which is usually passed with overwhelming support from both parties and veto-proof majorities, is a comprehensive defense law that authorizes $ 740 billion in spending and outlines Pentagon policies.
The bill could have enough bipartisan support for Congress to override Trump’s veto if he goes well with his threat.
This year’s legislation includes a 3% pay increase for US troops, a plan to rename military facilities with the names of Confederate leaders, and a number of other provisions. The NDAA, in its current form, does not include any action related to Section 230.
This is not the first time the president has targeted the NDAA. Earlier this year, Trump said he would veto the measure if it included language for changing U.S. military facilities named after Confederate generals.
Continue reading: Trump says U.S. Army bases will keep Confederate names
Despite threats from Trump, lawmakers added the renaming provision to this year’s NDAA.
This week, Trump’s plan to “veto” the NDAA met swift bipartisan opposition as lawmakers work to pass the crucial law needed to fund the military by the end of the year.
The latest law hiccup between the White House and the Hill comes as lawmakers sprint to finalize a second pandemic bill.
“You’re mad on Twitter. We all know. ‘
Legislators on both sides of the aisle pushed back on Trump’s call for hour 11, saying the repeal of Section 230 was irrelevant to the passage of the Pentagon’s top bill.
“First, 230 has nothing to do with the military,” Senator Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, told reporters on Wednesday.
“We should abolish 230, but you can’t do that in this bill. It’s not part of the bill,” added Inhofe.
“I would hope he wouldn’t really pull this off because the NDAA is critical,” said Senator Mike Rounds, RS.D., a member of the Armed Services Committee, according to The Hill.
Senate Majority Whip John Thune, RS.D., said Wednesday, “I don’t think the Defense Act is the place to litigate Section 230,” The Hill said.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., Responded to Trump’s tweet by saying that he would vote to override Trump’s veto.
Meanwhile, some GOP senators, such as Senator Lindsey Graham (RS.C.) and Senator Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Said they would support Trump’s veto of the NDAA to repeal or reform Section 230.
Rep. Adam Smith, a Washington Democrat and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said the president’s fixation on Section 230 was due to his personal struggles with Twitter.
“To be clear, Mr. President, the repeal of Section 230 wasn’t included in either the House or Senate versions of the NDAA,” Smith tweeted Wednesday. “You’re pissed off on Twitter. We all know. You are ready to veto the defense bill on something that has anything to do with your ego and nothing to do with defense,” added Smith.