The current White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, told reporters at a Wednesday briefing that Trump is “serious” about following through on his threat to veto the annual defense bill should congressional lawmakers fail to repeal the decades-old federal protection.
"Yes, the president is serious about it," McEnany suggested, when asked about Trump’s threat to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) bill. "There are real grave concerns here and the president stands by that."
Trump in a pair of Tuesday tweets, claimed that Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act poses a “serious threat to our national security and election integrity,” describing the measure as “very dangerous [and] unfair.”
Section 230 is considered one of the internet’s foundational laws, as it spares sites and services from being held liable for the content posted by its users. The legal protection itself has come under increasing scrutiny, as tech giants have been accused of failing to effectively crack down on hate speech and election misinformation.
The threat itself is just the latest in the president’s ongoing stance against social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter, companies which Trump alleges are biased against conservative Republicans after the platforms flagged social media posts violating company rules. Social media platforms note that the practice of flagging posts attempts to stop the spread of misinformation and false claims.
Since Election Day, Facebook and Twitter have both flagged a variety of posts from Trump in the which the president continues to allege voter fraud, as well as multiple posts in which he claimed that the 2020 election had been "rigged."
However 'serious' Trump's threats to veto the defense bill are, congressional lawmakers have vowed to move forward with the final version of the NDAA, without bending the knee to the demands of the current commander-in-chief.
Senate Armed Services Chair Jim Inhofe (R-OK) stated Wednesday that, while he does agree with Trump on his opposition to Section 230, the provision “has nothing to do with the military.”
“You can’t do it in this bill. That’s not a part of the bill,” Inhofe told reporters on Capitol Hill, adding that he made his stance clear to the president.
Trump’s Tuesday night veto threat is the second he’s made regarding the NDAA this year. The president previously promised over the summer that he would veto the defense funding bill if it did not remove language requiring the renaming of US military installations honoring Confederate generals. The president has subsequently made no mention of his threat.