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Trump issues first veto, killing resolution to block border national emergency

Bipartisan resolution 'dangerous’ and ‘reckless,’ POTUS says

Donald Trump speaks on border security during a Rose Garden event at the White House on Friday. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Donald Trump speaks on border security during a Rose Garden event at the White House on Friday. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“VETO!” President Donald Trump vowed in a Thursday tweet about a resolution to block his southern border national emergency, a pledge he made good on Friday.

Moments before he signed the veto, he called the bipartisan resolution “dangerous” and “reckless,” and said lawmakers’ votes to pass the measure were made “against reality.”

“Today, I  am vetoing this resolution. Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution, and I have the duty to veto it,” Trump said during an Oval Office veto ceremony.

“People hate the word invasion, but that’s what it is,” the president said, referring to his claim — which figures from his own Department of Homeland Security contradict — that undocumented immigrants are illegally flowing into the United States, as well as illicit narcotics. Trump long has said that illegal immigration automatically breeds other crimes, most of it violent in nature — though he has never produced any supporting data. 

“I look forward to VETOING the just passed Democrat inspired Resolution which would OPEN BORDERS while increasing Crime, Drugs, and Trafficking in our Country. I thank all of the Strong Republicans who voted to support Border Security and our desperately needed WALL!” he wrote in a second Thursday afternoon tweet.

A dozen Senate Republicans on Thursday broke with Trump over his emergency declaration, which he plans to use to access Treasury Department and Pentagon funds for his U.S.-Mexico border wall project. But they and Democrats lack the votes in both chambers to override his first veto.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi blasted the veto and emergency declaration in a statement, calling the latter a “lawless power grab.” She also tried to pressure House Republicans on the coming override vote, saying they “will have to choose between their partisan hypocrisy and their sacred oath to support and defend the Constitution.”

Trump contended — despite reports to the contrary — that he gave Senate Republicans cover to vote how they felt they should, saying his veto pen meant he did not need their support this time.

“They’re doing what they have to do, and I put no pressure on anybody,” the president said. “I said, ‘I want for you to vote your heart. Do want you want to do. I’m not putting any pressure.’”

“I’ll let them know when there’s pressure, OK? And I told them that,” he said. “When I need people I’m going to let you know. I didn’t need the votes. We all knew it’s going to be a veto, and there’s not going to be an override.”

White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley called the veto “sad” because congressional Democrats fail to understand the severity of what the administration calls a security and humanitarian crisis at the border. There is an “exploding number” of migrants flowing to the border, Gidley said, blasting “incentives” in existing U.S. laws that draw people to try to enter the country illegally.

At this point in their presidencies, Barack Obama had two and George W. Bush had none, which held into his second term.

The House reportedly will hold an override vote on March 26. Though Democratic leaders lack the required two-thirds vote margin, they want to force Republicans to cast another vote on the president’s authority to issue the order and the situation at the border.

Amid reports he and his team were pressuring Senate Republicans ahead of Thursday’s vote, the president earlier this week contended that no GOP member had been “beaten up” by the administration over the resolution.

Trump contends he has the legal authorities to both declare an emergency and shift funds from Treasury and the Pentagon to the border wall, a DHS-run project. Some legal scholars and former officials agree with the former, but say the latter is less clear.

Attorney General William Barr, standing near Trump, said he has concluded the emergency declaration is “clearly authorized under the law.”

Both are the subject of lawsuits that have been brought by left-leaning groups, and experts say the courts will decide the fate of Trump’s declaration.

About two hours before the Oval Office event started, the Trump campaign sent supporters a text to raise funds for its effort to pay legal fees related to the wall.

(Screenshot of a Trump Campaign text before President Donald Trump issued the first veto of his administration.)

Vice President Mike Pence was in the Oval Office. He often heaps praise on his boss in his public remarks. He did just that on Friday.


“I don’t know that I’ve ever been more proud than to be standing next to you today,” he told Trump.