President Donald Trump has issued the first veto of his presidency to tackle the resolution passed by Congress against the national emergency declared by him in February to finance the construction of the wall on the border with Mexico. “Today I veto this resolution, Congress has the freedom to approve it and I have the obligation to veto it,” the president said moments before initialling the document during a ceremony held in the Oval Office.
When faced with the impossibility for Congress to approve the funds he wanted for the wall project, Trump decreed on February 15 a declaration of national emergency, an extraordinary measure that allows presidents to temporarily access a special power to deal with a crisis. Shortly after, the Democratic opposition presented a resolution to Congress to revoke the national emergency, which was approved in February by the House of Representatives, with a progressive majority, with 245 in favor and 182 against.
Yesterday, he received the approval of the Senate, predominantly Republican, in a vote with 59 votes in favor and 41 against, in which twelve republican senators supported the motion.
Trump argued today that he has the “overwhelming” endorsement of Republican voters and that both the Senate and the House of Representatives have cast a “contrary to reality” vote by approving “an imprudent resolution.” The president today received the support of the Department of Justice, which in a letter sent to the CNN television network defended the president’s authority to issue the national emergency
“The President acted well at his discretion when declaring the national emergency regarding the southern border,” Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd said in the letter.
In fact, during the act of signing the veto, Trump was flanked by the Attorney General, William Barr, and the Secretary of National Security, Kirstjen Nielsen.
“Everything is going to go very fast, and as the attorney general just said, the case is a very strong, very powerful case, I think a national emergency was actually designed for a specific purpose like this,” said Trump, who reiterated that there is an “invasion” on the southern border where, he said, the trafficking organizations are at ease.
This is the first veto Trump has signed since reaching the country’s presidency in January 2017. His predecessor, Barack Obama (2009-2017), issued his first veto less than a year after his inauguration to block a spending bill that became redundant after Congress approved a similar measure for the entire year on the same day.
Former president George W. Bush (2001-2009) did not veto any resolution in his first term, but when the Democrats took control of Congress in 2007, the then president threatened 142 times to issue a veto, which reached materialize in eleven. Both Obama and Bush signed twelve vetoes each during their presidencies.
Trump’s decision to veto the Congress resolution on the national emergency was not a surprise, as he himself had advanced on Thursday on Twitter after the Senate vote. “VETO!”, Trump wrote briefly on his Twitter account.
After the veto of the resolution, it will go back to Congress, so now the support of two thirds of the House of Representatives and the Senate will be needed to make it effective, something less likely to happen.
With the national emergency, Trump intends to collect 6.6 billion dollars deviated from different items already approved by Congress, which would be added to another 1.375 million granted by the legislative power to build the border barrier.