The president used his veto powers for the first time on Friday, protecting a national emergency his critics claim is fabricated.
President Trump issued the first veto of his term on Friday, overriding a congressional resolution that sought to overturn his declaration of national emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The initiative attracted unusual bipartisan support, with a dozen Republican senators moving against the White House. Many conservative legislators voiced their concerns over what precedent Trump’s emergency might set, allowing future Democratic leaders to declare crises in healthcare or firearms violence.
However, most observers expected the president’s reaction to be a quick veto. On Thursday, he reinforced his position over Twitter and then cast it into action today.
“Consistent with the law and the legislative process designed by our founders, I am today 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.”
“And I’m very proud to veto it,” Trump added.
Trump, notes the New York Times, condemned the resolution as “dangerous,” “reckless,” and a “vote against reality.”
An executive declaration of crisis allows the president to pull already-appropriated funds redirect them to urgent causes. In this case, Trump’s dictate would have stripped several funds of billions of dollars, channeling them to the construction of a border wall.
President Trump only moved to declare an emergency after Congress several times rejected his requests for a bigger and better border wall.
I’d like to thank all of the Great Republican Senators who bravely voted for Strong Border Security and the WALL. This will help stop Crime, Human Trafficking, and Drugs entering our Country. Watch, when you get back to your State, they will LOVE you more than ever before!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 15, 2019
Friday’s veto triggered Democratic accusations of incompetency and unconstitutionality.
“It is no surprise that the president holds the rule of law and our Constitution in minimal regard,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a statement. “There is no emergency; Congress has refused to fund his wall multiple times; Mexico won’t pay for it; and a bipartisan majority in both chambers just voted to terminate his fake emergency.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) offered a similar rebuke, saying, “The House and Senate resoundingly rejected the president’s lawless power grab, yet the president has chosen to continue to defy the Constitution, the Congress and the will of the American people.”
However, some of Trump’s bureaucratic and appointed supporters have backed the emergency declaration, saying it’s necessary and constitutionally permissible.
“The humanitarian and security crisis we have on the border right now is exactly the kind of emergency that presidents are permitted to address under the National Emergencies Act,” Attorney General William Barr said.
Nonetheless, Trump’s emergency and long-promised would could remain in limbo for the foreseeable future. Numerous legal challenges have emerged to challenge it, with lawsuits filed by a coalition of state attorneys general and others led by nonprofit organizations and private interest groups.
Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement that “even members of President Trump’s own party are beginning to realize that he is a one-man constitutional crisis.”
“The president’s veto is as meaningless as his signature on the national emergency declaration,” Romero continued. “Congress has rejected the president’s declaration, and now the courts will be the ultimate arbiter of its legality. We look forward to seeing him in court and to the shellacking that he will receive at the hands of an independent judiciary.”