White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany held a briefing on Tuesday and said President Trump still plans to veto the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). McEnany also elaborated on the president’s opposition to the massive spending bill.
“One of the provisions of concern is about troop withdrawal and deployment in Afghanistan, South Korea, and Germany,” McEnany said. The NDAA includes amendments that seek to block planned troop drawdowns from Afghanistan and Germany.
The Trump administration is currently executing a plan to bring troop numbers in Afghanistan down to 2,500. When the NDAA becomes law, an assessment from various government agencies would be required before any more troops could be pulled out.
In Germany, the administration ordered the Pentagon to remove about 12,000 troops of the approximately 34,500 in the country. The NDAA would not allow these troops to be removed until 120 days after the Pentagon submits a report to Congress on how the withdrawal would impact US national security.
While he has not ordered a troop drawdown from South Korea, President Trump has previously threatened to do so. The NDAA includes an amendment that would block funds for a South Korea troop drawdown until 90 days after the secretary of defense certifies with Congress that the reduction would not harm US interests.
On Sunday, President Trump repeated his threat to veto the NDAA. The president wrote on Twitter: “THE BIGGEST WINNER OF OUR NEW DEFENSE BILL IS CHINA! I WILL VETO!”
When asked how the NDAA is bad on China, McEnany connected it to one of the president’s main gripes with the bill, the lack of an amendment to repeal Section 230, a law that gives tech platforms immunity from liability over the content published by third party users.
“By not including a Section 230 repeal, what you’re in effect allowing is Twitter to continue to not censor Chinese propaganda,” McEnany said. She went on to cite a tweet from the Chinese embassy about religious freedom in Xinjiang and another tweet that said coronavirus did not originate in Wuhan. “It is obviously Chinese disinformation, and the president’s priority is to make sure that isn’t permitted.”
President Trump has until December 23rd to decide on the $740.5 billion spending bill. If he goes through with a veto, it would likely just delay the NDAA from becoming law. Both the House and Senate passed the NDAA with well over the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto.