New York Times News Service
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Friday issued the first veto of his presidency, rejecting legislation that opposed his declaration of a national emergency to fund a wall along the southern border. The bill blocking Trump’s emergency declaration had attracted significant Republican support in Congress.
“Today I am vetoing this resolution,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution and I have the duty to veto it.”
The president called the resolution “dangerous” and “reckless.”
The president was flanked by Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General William Barr and Kirstjen Nielsen, the Homeland Security secretary. Barr said that the president’s emergency order was “clearly authorized under the law” and “solidly grounded in law.”
The president’s veto, which was expected, will send the legislation back to Congress, which most likely does not have enough votes for an override, meaning that Trump’s declaration will remain in effect.
The president has long insisted that there is a security and humanitarian crisis at the border with Mexico, an assertion that was undercut by Trump himself when he acknowledged that he could have waited to issue his declaration.
Democrats seized on those words and cited government data that shows there has been no flood of criminal migrants coming into the country. Some Republicans shared that view.
But others said they opposed the president on the grounds that it was the duty of Congress to appropriate taxpayer dollars and that Trump had exceeded his authority. On Thursday, a dozen Republicans joined Senate Democrats in voting to overturn Trump’s emergency declaration, in a 59-41 vote.
“Never before has a president asked for funding, Congress has not provided it and the president then has used the National Emergencies Act of 1976 to spend the money anyway,” Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said after the vote Thursday.
Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., said he thought Trump’s declaration was unconstitutional.
Even if Congress fails to override the veto, the emergency declaration is already being challenged in court.
“Even members of President Trump’s own party are beginning to realize that he is a one-man constitutional crisis,” Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement.