But he has now vetoed the defense budget as well, blocking more than $1.6 trillion for the time being
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump pardons convicted felons from his circle, such as former head of his campaign team Paul Manafort, who is now avoiding a multi-year prison sentence for multiple counts of financial fraud. In addition, he is trying to block key projects in the U.S.
The acting president pardoned his confidant Roger Stone, who was sentenced to more than three years in prison for making false statements and obstructing justice. Trump had already suspended his punishment in the context of the Russia affair in the summer anyway. The father of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is also among 49 people close to him who have been convicted in court and whom Trump has now quickly pardoned before he leaves office. Including child killers in the case of the four Blackwater soldiers who massacred 14 civilians, including two children, in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad in 2007.
On the political stage, the U.S. president throws sticks between the legs of the new administration – as well as of his own party. Having earlier rejected the hard-won deal between Democrats and Republicans on the $900 billion Corona aid package, the latest blow came late Wednesday, with the (still) president continuing to put his destructive stamp on the country.
Against the majority
As on the international stage, for example in the case of the Western Sahara or the U.S. troop withdrawal, he is still pouring oil on the fire at every turn. Now he has also vetoed the defense budget. Because the bill also provides, among other things, that Trump’s planned withdrawal of U.S. troops from Germany has been blocked over it for the time being. That was unconstitutional, he said, because he was the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. It was up to him to decide how many soldiers were deployed and where.
In this case, too, he is trying to torpedo a bipartisan majority simply because he does not agree with it. However, as with his absurd attempts to challenge the elections on the grounds of alleged electoral fraud, it is just another tantrum. Unlike his pardons, the veto was not allowed to have any real effect.
Congress can override the veto with a two-thirds majority in both chambers, and this is expected to happen before the end of the year. Given that his Republicans have reached an agreement with the Democrats, this could be the next major defeat for Trump. It would be the first time that Congress overturns a presidential veto in its tenure.
But Trump would not be Trump if he did not also have his own interests in mind in both cases. He had already threatened to veto the defense budget in advance as part of his dispute with online platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. If one rule (Section 230) is retained, he threatened, he will veto it. For a long time he has wanted to abolish the rule that gives online services wide-ranging freedom to take action against individual postings.
Storm against Section 230
The rule was introduced in 1996 with the amended Communications Decency Act (CDA). Section 230 protects companies such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube from being held liable for violations by their users.
Trump and his supporters claim that the big tech companies in Silicon Valley have been suppressing conservative views on their platforms. The accusations became stronger when Twitter and Facebook also began cracking down on fake news and misleading information about the corona virus and the U.S. election. That Trump’s pronouncements also came with warning labels, such as his baseless claims of voter fraud, eventually drove Trump to storm against Section 230.
"Our country can never become safe if we allow it to persist", Trump wrote on Twitter. This is "Corporate Welfare", thus a gift for liability shielding to the social media giants. In addition "serious threat to our national security and the integrity of elections", he once again tried to support his absurd accusations of electoral fraud, for which he has no proof whatsoever. Should Section 230 not be completely overturned, he would be forced to veto it, he had already announced at the beginning of the month, and had now acted on it.
Of course, Trump would not be Trump if he did not also argue populistically and serve the familiar enemy images. He also justified his veto by saying the bill was contrary to his administration’s auben policy and to national security. "It is a ‘gift’ for China and Russia", wrote Trump. Of course, he did not explain to what extent this is the case. Does he perhaps mean that China and Russia and Twitter, Facebook and Youtube control the world??
As with the recent recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara, many republicans are appalled by this move. The law had been passed every year for 59 years, he said, because it was "is absolutely necessary for our national security and our troops", declared Senator Jim Inhofe. "This year must not be an exception", added the Republican chairman of the Senate defense committee on. Inhofe is also in favor of changing something about Section 230. The junket with the defense budget he considers wrong. He pleads for a regulation with an independent law.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives called the Trump veto a "act of breathtaking irresponsibility that harms our troops, jeopardizes our security, and undermines the will of a bipartisan Congress". Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said that Trump wanted to bring the country into the world of social media in the last stages of his term "Chaos" stubborn. She announces that the House of Representatives will override the veto as early as Monday.
It is considered unthinkable that the military budget in the 60. For the first time in a year it could not be passed. In all, Trump had vetoed eight cases over the past four years. So far, however, it has never been overruled by Congress, as is now becoming clear on the other hand.
Helicopter with Corona aid package
The second front, which was also ultimately allowed to end in disaster for Trump, is his rejection of the new $900 billion Corona aid package. However, with his refusal to sign the bill, he could do serious damage to millions of burgers in the meantime. Nine months after the first aid package was approved on 26. The bill, which is set to expire on December 1, was the subject of numerous negotiations between Republicans and Democrats, who agreed on an extension that is now being called into question. This is a classic compromise.
But if the program expires, about 12 million people will lose all support in one fell swoop. The package therefore provides for a temporary weekly payment of $300 in unemployment benefits until mid-March, which the Republicans actually wanted to prevent. But this is also intended to avert a wave of evictions, because countless people could no longer pay their rents.
For rent payments, the package includes an additional 25 billion dollars. Eviction is estimated to threaten about five million families if the package doesn’t pass. A wave of evictions is also to be prevented initially by a moratorium on rentals, which is to be extended until the end of January.
As in the first aid package, which, however, with a volume of just over 2.2 trillion, was much coarser, now all burghers with an annual income below 75.000 dollars will find a check with helicopter money of 600 dollars under the Christmas tree, 1.200 for couples and another 600 for each child. This is half of the amount that rained down on many families in the spring, in order to strengthen the struggling economy in the Corona crisis. This $600, the proposal came from Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steven, but he described it as "laughably little".
A thorn in Trump’s side is the planned two-year suspension of the tax on entertainment expenses "not enough" to help the restaurant industry, which has been hit hard by the pandemic. He demands populist now, even 2.000 dollars per person, 4.000 for couples to drop from helicopters over the burgers. Interestingly enough he blows with it however into the horn of the Democrats. They had also called for higher direct aid, but Trump’s Republicans blocked it.
"I ask the congress to remove the wasteful and un-necessary parts" of the aid package should be cancelled immediately. Will not give him "more suitable" Bill presented, "the next government must approve a Corona aid package", threatened Trump. The previous draft was "a disgrace". Obviously, he has not realized that the items for development aid, subsidies for cultural institutions and fishery requirements, which he cites as examples, have nothing to do with the aid package. Namely, they come from the budget bill passed in parallel, which amounts to 1.5 trillion dollars.