We're just hours into the new year, and already outgoing President Donald Trump is dealing with one of the more ignominious defeats of his short political career.
Just four days after the Democratic majority House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to override the president's ridiculously petty veto of the National Defense Authorization Act, the Senate on Friday did the same, handing Trump the first veto defeat of his administration. By a massive 81-13 margin the GOP-lead Senate voted during a special New Year's Day session to pass the $740 billion NDAA Trump had claimed was a "'gift' to China and Russia" when he nixed the bill last week.
In fact, despite his protestations, Trump's chief complaints with the NDAA — the bill which sets the Pentagon's funding for the year — appeared less to do with issues of national security, and more to do with his personal vendettas against social media companies he believes are censoring him, as well as the push to change the names of U.S. military installations that currently honor Confederate figures, some of whom Trump has, himself, praised.
Sensing that the override was imminent, Trump had spent the days leading up to Friday's vote attempting to bully members of his own party into supporting his veto, tweeting that "weak and tired Republican 'leadership' will allow the bad defense bill to pass," and that the party should "negotiate a better bill, or get better leaders."
But the president's threats, vitriolic as they were, had little effect on the bipartisan enthusiasm for the annual bill. If anything, they highlighted the overwhelming influence military support holds over an otherwise rancorous, fractured Congress.
"The NDAA has become law every year for 59 years straight because it’s absolutely vital to our national security and our troops," Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe (Okla.), chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement when the bill initially passed. "This year must not be an exception."
Democrats have been slightly more pointed in their criticism of the Trump veto.
"[The veto is a] parting gift to Putin and a lump of coal for our troops," Democratic Sen. Jack Reed (R.I.), the ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, said. "Donald Trump is showing more devotion to Confederate base names than to the men and women who defend our nation."
The president has not yet publicly responded to the veto override, instead tweeting an invitation to an as-of-yet non-specific "stop the steal" rally while the override vote was taking place. Still, for a man who has become increasingly hostile to his fellow Republicans since losing the election, it's safe to assume that he's not going to take this rebuke with the sort of dignity and solemn reflection we'd hope to see from a chastised president.