Lame Duckin’

As expected, the Congress has overridden his veto of the NDAA.

Via the NYT: Senate Overrides Trump’s Veto of Defense Bill, Dealing a Legislative Blow:

The Senate on Friday voted overwhelmingly to override President Trump’s veto of the annual military policy bill as most Republicans joined Democrats to rebuke Mr. Trump in the final days of his presidency.

The 81-to-13 vote was the first time lawmakers have overridden one of Mr. Trump’s vetoes. It reflected the sweeping popularity of a measure that authorized a pay raise for the nation’s military.

The margin surpassed the two-thirds majority needed to force enactment of the bill over Mr. Trump’s objections, and only seven Republicans voted to sustain the veto. The House passed the legislation on Monday in a similarly lopsided 322-to-87 vote that also mustered the two-thirds majority required.

To be honest, I am not sure that Trump’s lame duck status had all that much with this override, but it nonetheless is reflective of his lameness vis-a-vis governing (but the post title just seemed to fit). Fundamentally, the override underscores, yet again, his lack of basic understanding of governance.

After all, the bill originally passed with veto-proof majorities, which usually means, you know, that there are majorities who will override a veto.

It is weird how that works, yes?

Further, it was a case of Trump trying to leverage a defense spending bill that would provide a raise to service members because he wanted to block a provision that would require the re-naming of bases named for Confederates and because he wanted to leverage the bill to repeal a portion of federal law that shields hosting services from being directly responsible for content posted by users. Trump has also conflated his demand that relief checks be increased to $2,000 with this process (which has no direct relationship to that policy issue).

Those objections, registered late in the legislative process, infuriated lawmakers, who had labored for months to put together a bipartisan bill. They had prided themselves on passing the military bill each year for 60 years, and lawmakers in Mr. Trump’s own party ultimately moved to mow over his concerns and advance the legislation. It was a sharp departure from the deference Mr. Trump has normally been shown on Capitol Hill by members of his party.

The vote on Friday ensures that the legislation will be enacted into law over Mr. Trump’s objections, including the provision requiring the Pentagon to strip the names of Confederates from military bases that so riled the president. The bill also takes steps to slow or block Mr. Trump’s planned drawdown of American troops from Germany and Afghanistan, and would make it more difficult for the president to deploy military personnel to the southern border.


The bill contains a 3 percent increase in pay for service members and a boost in hazardous duty incentive pay, new benefits for tens of thousands of Vietnam-era veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and a landmark provision aimed at preventing the use of shell companies to evade anti-money-laundering rules.

To be honest this all just feels like Dan Drezner’s toddler-in-chief bit made manifest. Like the toddler that throws a fit because he doesn’t want to go to bed, nonetheless finds that bedtime can, and will, be enforced by the adults in the room.

FILED UNDER: Afghanistan War, US Politics, , , , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Teve says:

    Braxton Bragg was garbage anyway.

  2. gVOR08 says:

    It’s hard to see what this veto was all about without embracing something like Drezner’s toddler-in-chief theory. And I love the picture.

  3. Ol' Nat says:

    And occasionally enough adults will act like adults to make important things happen. Hopefully that will begin to happen more, though I’m not confident about it.

  4. gVOR08 says:

    @Teve: I don’t mind Fort Bragg. Confederate general Bragg was one of the Union’s greatest assets.

  5. Teve says:

    @gVOR08: touché

  6. Ken_L says:

    A while ago, the Washington Post mentioned another, more personal reason Trump may have opposed the bill:

    The Corporate Transparency Act, which was tacked onto the defense bill, would require corporations and limited liability companies established in the United States to disclose their real owners to the Treasury Department, making it harder for criminals to anonymously launder money or evade taxes. The rule applies to future and existing entities alike.

  7. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    And I love the picture.

    Picture titled, “I’m gonna hold my breath ’till I turn blue.”

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: So was Hood.

  9. Kathy says:


    Is there anything in the South named after McClellan? Likewise, I don’t think there’s even a public toilet in Russia named after Mussolini.

  10. Paine says:

    Trump is certainly racking up L’s like a champ!

  11. @Kathy: Fort McClellan was in Anniston, AL (but was closed in 1995). I think there is still a national guard training facility there.

  12. CSK says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:
    Except that he appears to be turning an even deeper shade of orange.

  13. Kathy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I confess to great surprise.

  14. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: As do I. IIRC Fort Bragg was so named as a PR move to please the locals. Surprised that wasn’t more general policy.

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’d agree about Hood. As a bit of trivia, they sort of bookmarked General Thomas career. Thomas came to fame as “The Rock of Chickamauga” for a successful rear guard action saving the Union army in Bragg’s sole major victory. More a matter of luck, and having Longtreet’s Corps on loan from Lee’s army, than skill. Late in the war, at Nashville, Hood’s army was destroyed by Thomas.

  15. Mikey says:


    IIRC Fort Bragg was so named as a PR move to please the locals. Surprised that wasn’t more general policy.

    It was, actually. The former Confederate states were leery of allowing the evil Yankee government to post troops, so as a sweetener the federal government offered to name them after traitor…er, Confederate generals.

    Trump won’t rename Army posts that honor Confederates. Here’s why they’re named after traitors.