Despite pushback from both sides of the aisle, President Trump on Thursday reiterated his threat to veto the annual National Defense Authorization Act if lawmakers fail to include in the bill a repeal of legal protections for tech companies that provide platforms for user-generated content online.
Acknowledging that some members of his own party oppose his effort to use the defense policy bill to repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, Trump tweeted, “Looks like certain Republican Senators are getting cold feet with respect to the termination of Big Tech’s Section 230, a National Security and Election Integrity MUST. For years, all talk, no action. Termination must be put in Defense Bill!!!”
Although a handful of lawmakers have expressed support for Trump’s effort, more have criticized it, and the president’s tweet Thursday doesn’t seem to have changed many minds.
Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, told Politico that it was too late to start debating new provisions in the bill, especially ones that are unrelated to defense policy. “At this last minute, this sudden threat on an item that’s not even part of a defense bill … I don’t think we could do it in a thoughtful, logical way at all.”
Speculating about Trump’s motivation, Reed said, “It seems to be more out of spite than anything else.”