President Donald Trump’s former national security advisor sharply condemned the commander in chief’s decision to veto the defense spending bill on Wednesday.
Making good on repeated threats to do so, Trump vetoed the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, a $741 billion defense bill that funds the Department of Defense. The bill had passed both chambers of Congress with strong bipartisan support.
President Trump vetoed the NDAA over unrelated issues such as social-media protection laws. The president also objected to efforts by Congress to rename military bases named after Confederate leaders.
“My Administration recognizes the importance of the Act to our national security,” Trump said in a statement on his decision to veto the bill.
“Unfortunately,” the president added, “the Act 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. It is a ‘gift’ to China and Russia.”
Former national security advisor John Bolton, who was ousted from his position in the White House in 2019 over disagreements with Trump, wrote on Twitter Wednesday that the veto was a “shameful last act of a failed presidency.”
@realdonaldtrump veto of the NDAA is a shameful last act of a failed presidency. As we face unprecedented threats, including damaging cyber attacks, we cannot afford to play games with national security. Congress must act swiftly to override this pointless veto.
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) December 23, 2020
In his tweet, Bolton appeared to be making a reference to the suspected Russian hack of numerous federal government departments and agencies via a compromised contractor.
While members of the Trump administration have said the attack appears to have been carried out by Russia, Trump has been hesitant to point fingers at Moscow.
Trump’s veto of the defense bill sets up a clash with Congress, which passed the NDAA with a veto-proof majority. The president is already facing pushback from both sides of the aisle, including from senior Republican lawmakers.
“The NDAA has become law every year for 59 years straight because it’s absolutely vital to our national security and our troops,” Sen. Jim Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, tweeted Wednesday afternoon. “This year must not be an exception.”
He added that he hoped his colleagues in Congress would join him “in making sure our troops have the resources and equipment they need to defend this nation.”
Trump has used his veto authority a number of times during the course of his presidency, and he has done so without any challenge. The latest veto may be the first one that Congress overrides.
The House and Senate are scheduled to return after Christmas and hold a vote to override the veto.
This report was written by Ryan Pickrell and originally published on Business Insider.