On Friday, Congress successfully overrode the outgoing president’s veto of the defense spending bill for the forthcoming year, which Trump complained about on the basis of plans to remove Confederate names from U.S. military installations. The outgoing commander-in-chief also insisted that the defense spending legislation should have included a removal of legal liability protections for social media companies covering material that users post on the platforms, although the connection between this proposal and national security is tenuous at best. In rebuking this position, a full 81 of the 100 Senators voted to override Trump’s veto, with just 13 Senators sticking with the president. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) himself backed overturning the president’s veto.
NEWS: The Senate has voted 81-13 to join the House in overriding President Trump's veto of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
— Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) January 1, 2021
In order to overturn a presidential veto, a piece of legislation needs to pass each chamber of Congress for an additional time with the support of at least two-thirds of each side of the legislature, and the Senate held their vote on the matter on Friday, days after the House’s vote to override the veto. This override of Trump’s defense spending bill veto is the first successful Congressional override of any of Trump’s vetoes. Previously, Trump has vetoed measures like repeated Congressional attempts to dismiss the state of emergency that he declared over the situation at the southern border as an excuse to redirect government money towards his long-sought southern border wall construction.
Dear @realDonaldTrump: Large bipartisan majorities of both the House and Senate overrode your veto of the NDAA. Why? Because you are rapidly becoming irrelevant. And we reject your racist attempt to keep military bases named after traitorous, confederate generals. https://t.co/REqVERb7Qg
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) January 1, 2021
On Friday, McConnell commented as follows, discussing the question of the defense spending bill:
‘It’s a serious responsibility, but it’s also a tremendous opportunity: to direct our national security priorities to reflect the resolve of the American people and the evolving threats to their safety, at home and abroad.’
Recently, McConnell added the following:
‘For the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces, failure is simply not an option. So when it’s our time in Congress to have their backs, failure is not an option either. I would urge my Republican colleagues to support this legislation one more time when we vote.’
The vote marks the first override of a Trump veto in his time in office.
It’s a rebuke, but also underscores how pointless it was for the Pres. Trump to pick this fight.
It’s a sweeping defense policy bill that has passed w wide bipartisan margins for 60 years.
— Phil Mattingly (@Phil_Mattingly) January 1, 2021
The veto override isn’t the first occasion on which Senate Republicans recently turned against Trump. Despite the outgoing president’s demands for $2,000 relief checks for Americans, McConnell has declined to support the measure as it stands, instead insisting that consideration of the checks should be bundled with consideration of other presidential priorities, including those legal liability protections for social media companies. McConnell’s insistence on further deliberation rather than passing the ready-to-go relief check legislation that the House already approved ensures that the assistance won’t be approved for Americans any time soon.