Dec 11, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Aides try to save Trump from himself

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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Some of President Trump's advisers are trying to convince him that if he vetoes a defense reauthorization bill that could pass Friday, his fellow Republicans won't sustain it and he'll risk losing credibility with the troops, sources with direct knowledge of the conversations tell Axios.

Behind the scenes: In private conversations, Trump seems to believe Republicans would ultimately bend to his will and support a veto. He argues the bill needs a provision repealing protections for social media companies, but several confidants have tried to persuade him his fellow Republicans don't agree.

One argument made to the president: You have a legacy of rebuilding the military by increasing its budgets. Don't be remembered for trying — and embarrassingly failing — to veto your last big defense bill, the sources said.

  • Another message: While you're trying to hold Republicans together for your election challenges, is it really a good idea to poke them in the eye?

The fallout: The arguments don't seem to be working. On Thursday, Trump poked Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Jim Inhofe by announcing a foreign policy decision related to Morocco that Inhofe had made very clear he opposed, and was personal to him.

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