Handful of Republicans stand by Trump as House votes to override president’s veto of Defense bill

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Republican lawmakers in the House joined their Democratic colleagues in overriding President Donald Trump’s veto of the defense bill.

In an overwhelming vote of 322 to 87, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on Monday to override the president’s objections to the National Defense Authorization Act, which he vetoed last week. The vote marks the first time Trump has been overruled by the chamber, and the Republican-led Senate is expected to do the same this week.

The president had vetoed the $740 billion defense package last week, objecting to plans to rename 10 military bases currently named after Confederate figures. He also sought to change section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which provides protections for technology giants such as Facebook and Twitter.

In the Senate, 84 lawmakers had voted to pass the bill, with only 13 senators voting against it, including Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley as well as former presidential candidates, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker.

(Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

In his veto message last week, the president had called the bill a “gift” to China and Russia.

The NDAA “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 said.

“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,” the president added in explaining his opposition to the “renaming of certain military installations.”

The president has threatened to veto the bill for some time and lawmakers were quick to condemn his opposition.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi slammed Trump’s “dangerous sabotage efforts” after the vote on Monday to override him.

“With this bipartisan vote, the House has upheld our sacred Constitutional responsibility to keep our country and our people safe, despite Trump’s eleventh-hour campaign of chaos,” she said in a statement.

But while many Republicans voted with Democrats to overrule Trump’s veto, others staunchly defended the move and vowed to stand by the president.

Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona called out the bill for containing a lot of “junk” and funds being sent to other nations.

In a speech on the House floor, Rep. Matt Gaetz said the bill was “hijacked by the forever war lobby and their bought and paid for allies in the United States Congress.”

“It puts barriers in the way of an administration that wants to bring our troops home and put America first,” the Florida Republican said.

Trump retweeted the videos of Gaetz and Biggs as well as several messages on Twitter from lawmakers who pledged to uphold his veto.

Frieda Powers

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