U.S. President Donald Trump has issued the first veto of his presidency, overriding a congressional measure and protecting his national security declaration to fund a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution and I have the duty to veto it,” Trump said Friday in the Oval Office.
Surrounded by law enforcement officials as well as parents of children killed by people who were illegally in the United States, Trump called the congressional action “dangerous” and “reckless.”
On Thursday, Congress formally rejected Trump’s national emergency declaration to fund border wall construction, as the Senate voted 59 to 41 to disapprove the executive action.
A dozen Republicans joined with Senate Democrats to back the resolution.
The House had passed the measure weeks earlier, largely along party lines.
Back to Congress
Trump’s veto sends the issue back to Congress, where it is unlikely that there will be enough support to override the veto. Two-thirds majorities in both the House and Senate are needed to overcome a presidential veto.
Earlier this year, a politically divided Congress provided limited funds to erect new fencing along small sections of the U.S.-Mexico border, an outlay Trump deemed inadequate.
The president then declared a national emergency, allowing him to redirect federal funds for the wall, which the White House said would come from mostly military accounts.
The president has argued the situation at the border is a crisis that warrants such an emergency declaration, and has said the United States is facing an invasion of people trying to enter the country illegally.
Democrats have largely opposed building a wall on the southern border.
Republicans who voted against Trump’s national security declaration said that while they supported increasing security on the southern border, they did not support Trump’s attempt to bypass Congress.
Congress has not funded Trump’s border wall requests during the more than two years he has been in office, including during the first two years when Republicans were in control of both houses of Congress. (VOA)