Trump Signs Big Military Bill đź’°

Tom Brenner / The New York Times

Tom Brenner / The New York Times


President Trump signed Congress’s $717 billion John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act which authorizes the Department of Defense’s military spending for 2019. This year’s NDAA, which received bipartisan support, steers away from counter-terrorism efforts and instead focuses on growing threats from China and Russia. 


Trump & McCain's history

Despite signing a bill named after Senator McCain (R-AZ), Trump notably failed to acknowledge him in his ceremony speech. This isn’t the first time Trump has thrown shade at McCain. In the past, Trump has refuted the senator’s recognition as a war hero and criticized McCain’s vote against Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare. McCain is also one of Trump’s most vocal Republican opponents.

The right focuses on commending the contents of the bill. Specifically, they applaud the bill's troop increases as necessary investments in the military. They see this as evidence of Trump committing to his campaign promises. Articles also point to the bill’s bipartisan backing as growing consensus that China and Russia are quickly becoming increasingly powerful. 

The left focuses less on the bill and more on Trump’s lack of mention of Sen. McCain. They condemn Trump’s needless shade and argue that the least he could do was mention the Senator’s accomplishments both as a Vietnam veteran and in Congress. They point to Trump’s ongoing disparagement towards McCain as an example of the president’s uncivil and undiplomatic behavior towards his critics. 

Congress' hidden agenda

While the 2019 NDAA benefited service members and fostered morale, it implicitly questions Trump’s foreign policy. Recently, foreign policy has dominated the spotlight - impacting relationships with the EURussiaChina, and Iran. Given the slew of abrupt actions abroad, Congress’s NDAA this year serves as more of a restraint to Trump’s foreign legislation - forcing him to do things he may not want. Its bipartisanship represents widespread agreement to rein in the president on his desires to limit military presence in South Koreaand his hot-cold stances on both China and Russia.

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