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Trump issues the first veto of his presidency to protect his border wall

President Donald Trump issued the first veto of his presidency on Friday during an Oval Office ceremony with mothers whose children were killed by illegal immigrants.

The ‘angel moms’ were present in the Rose Garden when Trump declared that a national emergency existed on America’s southern border; they returned to the Oval Office to see him formally reject an attempt by Congress to overturn it. 

‘Today I am vetoing this resolution,’ he said. ‘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 has insisted that drugs and criminals coming into the United States would be radically inhibited by the presence of a border wall he he long promised to erect. 

‘As president, the protection of the nation is my highest duty,’ he said, blasting Democrats for passing a ‘dangerous’ and ‘reckless’ resolution.

He told reporters, though, that he didn’t put pressure on 12 Republican senators who crossed the aisle to vote against him.

Trump’s national emergency declaration, which his veto preserves, allows him to repurpose billions of dollars to accelerate the wall project. Voting to kill it, he said, is a vote ‘against reality.’

Signing it, he claimed, ‘would put countless Americans in danger, very grave danger.’

‘It is definitely a national emergency. Rarely have we had such a national emergency,’ he said.

President Donald Trump issued the first veto of his presidency this afternoon during a ceremony with law enforcement officers and mothers whose children were killed by illegal immigrants

Trump's veto cancels a congressional attempt to cancel the national emergency he says is undebiably present because of illegal immigration and drug trafficking on the U.S.-Mexico border

Trump’s veto cancels a congressional attempt to cancel the national emergency he says is undebiably present because of illegal immigration and drug trafficking on the U.S.-Mexico border

The president is using his national emergency declaration to redirect billions of taxpayer dollars to building his long-promised border wall; in this photo from December, a Honduran youth jumped from a border fence in Tijuana, Mexico

The president is using his national emergency declaration to redirect billions of taxpayer dollars to building his long-promised border wall; in this photo from December, a Honduran youth jumped from a border fence in Tijuana, Mexico

‘I don’t know that I’ve ever been more proud than to be standing next to you today,’ Vice President Mike Pence said as Trump sat at the Resolute Desk with a pen sitting nearby.

Trump emphasized what he has framed as a crisis fueled by narcotics traffickers and ‘murderers’ sneaking into the country in places where there are no physical borders to impede them.

Border agents have apprehended tens of thousands in the past year, but ‘we’re bursting at the seams,’ he said. ‘You can only do so much.’

‘In some cases you have murderers coming in,’ the president said.

He claimed that his administration is arresting or expelling ‘thousands and thousands a year of MS-13 gang members and other gang members that are just as bad.’

They enter, he said, ‘where we don’t have any wall at all.’

Trump’s own Customs and Border Patrol agency told DailyMail.com on Thursday that despite Trump’s animated statements, there is nowhere along the U.S.-Mexico border where a wall stands today on a spot that was undefended when the president took office

Neither chamber of Congress had enough votes this week to override the president’s veto, but opponents of the policy remained hopeful that dozens of Republicans would reconsider their positions.

The president predicted the exact opposite, saying in a Friday afternoon tweet that their constituents would greet them like heroes when they come home over the weekend to their districts.

‘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,’ he tweeted. ‘Watch, when you get back to your State, they will LOVE you more than ever before!’

The Senate voted Thursday to terminate Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on the border in the most significant legislative rebuke he has suffered as president.

The 59-41 vote included 12 Republicans who bucked the president to support the measure, which had already cleared the Democratic-run House. The most prominent rebels were Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney.

GOP support for the resolution, which appeared to mushroom in the final 24 hours, was enough to easily ensure passage, setting up Friday’s veto. 

Trump didn’t take long to reveal how he would respond. He blasted out a one-word tweet in all capital letters within minutes of the vote: ‘VETO!’ he said.

Elaborating a half-hour later, the president said he couldn’t wait to exercise his constitutional authority to rebuff Congress for the first time since he took office nearly 26 months ago.

‘I look forward to VETOING the just passed Democrat inspired Resolution which would OPEN BORDERS while increasing Crime, Drugs, and Trafficking in our Country,’ he tweeted. ‘I thank all of the Strong Republicans who voted to support Border Security and our desperately needed WALL!’  

Trump had ten days, excluding Sunday, per the U.S. Constitution, to send the unsigned bill back, or cave and sign it.

After Trump vetoes the measure, the House and Senate would each have to muster the two-thirds majority to overturn it. That would mean six more Republicans flipping from Trump’s side. 

A new vote will not be held in the U.S. House of Representatives until March 26. Lawmakers have already fled the district for a week-long recess. 

Voted down: The moment the Senate decided against Trump's declaration of a border emergency after 12 Republicans rebelled

Voted down: The moment the Senate decided against Trump’s declaration of a border emergency after 12 Republicans rebelled

Trump blasted out his response to the extraordinary rebuke on Twitter with a one-word declaration

Trump blasted out his response to the extraordinary rebuke on Twitter with a one-word declaration

In full: After his one-word VETO! tweet Trump attacked Republicans who had voted against him for backing a 'Democratic inspired Resolution'

In full: After his one-word VETO! tweet Trump attacked Republicans who had voted against him for backing a ‘Democratic inspired Resolution’

The measure would have the effect of terminating Trump’s use of the National Emergencies Act to reprogram funds to build a border wall – despite a standoff with Democrats during the government shutdown that resulted in Trump being denied the $5.7 billion he was requesting for that purpose.

TWELVE SENATORS OPPOSE TRUMP 

A dozen Republican senators voted Thursday to block the president’s national emergency. 

They are: 

Lamar Alexander of Tennessee

Roy Blunt of Missouri

Susan Collins of Maine

Mike Lee of Utah

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska

Rob Portman of Ohio

Mitt Romney of Utah

Marc Rubio of Florida

Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania

Roger Wicker of Mississippi

Rand Paul of Ketucky

Jerry Moran of Kansas 

However, supporters of the measure were short of the 67 votes needed to override his promised veto and lawmakers were leaving town for week-long recess.

The vote seeking to turn back Trump on his signature campaign issue came just a day after the Senate pushed back on his foreign policy – voting to end U.S. support for the war in Yemen. The war is backed by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia, a key ally courted by Trump.  

The Republican-run Senate mobilized to try to overturn his national emergency effort after Trump marshaled $6.6 billion more for wall funding than Congress had appropriated using the emergency designation. 

Their opposition put Trump in the uncomfortable position of having to censure his own party. 

Trump moved to milk the issue not long after the vote by sending out a fundraising email with subject line: ‘Veto?’ The email blast asked: ‘Should President Trump use his veto power to FINISH THE WALL?’ 

So did House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She sent out an email promising to match donations to Democrats dollar for dollar until the president issues a veto. 

She signed the resolution immediately, holding it up for cameras to get a good look at it an the huge grin on her face.  

Senators rebuked Trump hours after he told them they would have to go through him to end his border emergency. He said Thursday morning that he would use the power of his pen for the first time in his presidency.

A dozen Republicans joined in the rebellion. The list included members of the powerful Appropriations Committee, which has amassed institutional power by steering funds as designated through spending legislation, as well as institutionalists wary of ceding congressional authority to the executive.

Gleeful: Nancy Pelosi wasted no time signing the bill repealing the declaration of a national emergency. It will go to the president's desk where he has ten days to sign or veto it

Gleeful: Nancy Pelosi wasted no time signing the bill repealing the declaration of a national emergency. It will go to the president’s desk where he has ten days to sign or veto it

All smiles: The rebuke for Trump from his own party represents a victory for the Democrats

All smiles: The rebuke for Trump from his own party represents a victory for the Democrats 

Pelosi was fundraising off of the vote as quickly as Trump, promising her personally match donations until he signs a veto, dollar for dollar

Pelosi was fundraising off of the vote as quickly as Trump, promising her personally match donations until he signs a veto, dollar for dollar

Defeated: The measure was a rare legislative defeat for Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate majority leader

Defeated: The measure was a rare legislative defeat for Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate majority leader

Rebel: Mitt Romney spoke after he rebelled against the Trump emergency declaration

Rebel: Mitt Romney spoke after he rebelled against the Trump emergency declaration

ON THE OTHER HAND: Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who is up for reeelction in 2020, voted against the measure, after being one of the first to back it

But the resistance was severely cut by a pledge that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, himself a former Appropriations ‘cardinal,’ made to Trump not to support the effort. 

‘I will vote to support the president’s decision later today, and I will encourage our colleagues to do the same,’ he said as he opened the vote on the Senate floor.

Republicans voting with Democrats to advance the measure were Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander, Utah’s Mitt Romney, Ohio’s Rob Portman, Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey, Kansas’ Jerry Moran, Missouri’s Roy Blunt, Maine’s Susan Collins, Utah’s Sen. Mike Lee, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, Florida’s Marco Rubio, and Mississippi’s Roger Wicker. 

In one unexpected twist, Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who is up for reeelction in 2020, voted against the measure, after being one of the first to back it.

‘It’s never a tough vote for me when I’m standing on principle,’ Tillis said last week when he was in favor of it. 

The Washington Post reported that prominent conservative donors and activists had begun talk of recruiting a challenger to Tillis had he voted against Trump on the issue.

Rubio, a former presidential candidate who challenged Trump, said of the emergency declaration: ‘No crisis justifies violating the Constitution.’

He added in a statement, ‘We have an emergency at our border, which is why I support the president’s use of forfeiture funds and counter-drug money to build a wall.

‘However, I cannot support moving funds that Congress explicitly appropriated for construction and upgrades of our military bases. This would create a precedent a future president may abuse to jumpstart programs like the Green New Deal.’

Romney told reporters who cornered him in the Senate that he’d spoke to Trump about his vote during a meeting they had last week at the White House.

‘Well, he’d rather have me vote in a different direction, but I let him know that this for me is a matter of defending the Constitution,’ he said. 

Toomey told reporters in the Capitol on Thursday that he was backing the effort, because the subject had because the matter had already been settled during the government shutdown – even though he personally backed Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion in border wall funding.

‘It’s not at all an unreasonable amount,’ said Toomey. ‘But the process by which you do that matters. This issue was extensively litigated and adjudicated. We had a government shutdown over this, we eventually got a compromise, which I didn’t’ even support … but the president signed it,’ he added.

Also joining the revolt was Blunt of Missouri, a member of the Appropriations Committee, which derives its power from the ability to direct funding to projects. 

Portman, an institutionalist who previously served as U.S. Trade Representative and White House budget director, announced on the Senate floor that he would vote to terminate the designation.

Portman says otherwise, some future Democratic president could use emergency powers to take down the border wall.

‘It doesn’t mean the president can ignore Congress and substitute his own judgment for the will of the people,’ Portman said.

He said he didn’t think the purpose of the National Emergenies Act was to ‘circumvent what Congress and the president have agreed to through duly enacted legislation.’ 

‘So I think the separation of powers is very important. So I think it was a mistake for the president to use this mechanism,’ he added.

He insisted the country has a 'MAJOR NATIONAL EMERGENCY' on the border and that's all they need to be considering

He insisted the country has a ‘MAJOR NATIONAL EMERGENCY’ on the border and that’s all they need to be considering

The House passed its version by House 245 to 182 – also short of a veto-proof majority. 

Trump said in advance he would veto a bipartisan resolution senators planned to pass, casting it as being either for or against security, rather than a constitutional test of spending authority. 

‘It’s really a border security vote. It’s pure and simple, it’s a vote for border security, it’s a vote for no crime,’ he argued from the Oval Office.

Trump said he would support legislation reining in executive power, if Republicans support his border emergency now, appearing to make a U-turn on a compromise solution a senator said the White House had rejected.

But it didn’t matter. A dozen voted for the resolution of disapproval as lawmakers from his own party rebelled against his use of executive authority.

Once he finally casts his veto – Trump will join a club of modern presidents who exercised their constitutional authority. 

President Ronald Reagan cast 78 of them, George H.W. Bush cast 44, while Bill Clinton cast 37 and Barack Obama cast 12. Two of Obama’s vetoes were slapdowns of his own party. The other ten came during his final legislative session in office.    

President Trump told GOP senators to quit 'overthinking' his national emergency as they deliberated how to vote on a resolution rebuking him

President Trump told GOP senators to quit ‘overthinking’ his national emergency as they deliberated how to vote on a resolution rebuking him

Trump told GOP senators Wednesday, as he attempted to quell the rebellion quit ‘overthinking’ his national emergency as they deliberated how to vote on a resolution rebuking him. 

He said he told them to ‘vote anyway you want, vote how you feel good’ while cautioning that it will ‘very bad thing for them long into the future’ if they move to terminate it.

‘I think anybody going against border security, drug trafficking human trafficking, that’s a bad vote,’ he warned on Wednesday.  

He claimed later, at a meeting on drug trafficking, that it is an ‘urgent national crisis’ his administration is ‘doing many, many things’ to combat, in addition to a wall. 

He argued once again that the vote is not about about constitutionality, nor is it a vote on precedent.

‘You should take a look at what President Obama did with DACA and with so many other things, that was no precedent,’ he said. ‘And I think most Republican senators fully understand that.’ 

In response to a query from a reporter, Trump denied a charge from Sen. Paul that he was putting extreme pressure on senators to back him in the vote, saying, ‘Nobody’s beaten up, I said use your own discretion.’ 

Trump insisted that Democrats voting to terminate his resolution are for open borders and want drugs and crime to flow into the country unregulated. 

‘I guess they think its good politically. I happen to think it’s bad politically,’ he assessed. ‘And the Republicans aren’t, but I told Republican senators vote any way you want, vote how you feel good.’  

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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