President Donald Trump on Tuesday vetoed a resolution from Congress directing him to end US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, the second such move of his presidency.
The resolution was a harsh bipartisan rebuke to Trump that took the historic step of curtailing a president’s war-making powers — a step he condemned in a statement announcing his veto.
“This resolution is an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future,” Trump said.
The veto was the second of his presidency, after he overrode a congressional resolution that aimed to reverse the border emergency he declared in order to secure more funding for his wall between the United States and Mexico in March.
Vetoing the measure is an “effective green light for the war strategy that has created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis to continue,” said International Rescue Committee president and CEO David Miliband.
“Yemen is at a breaking point with 10 million people on the brink of famine. There are as many as 100 civilian casualties per week, and Yemenis are more likely to be killed at home than in any other structure.”
Trump argued that US support for the bloody war between the Saudi-backed Yemeni government and Iran-aligned Huthi rebels was necessary for a variety of reasons, “first and foremost” to “protect the safety of the more than 80,000 Americans who reside in certain coalition countries.”
These countries “have been subject to Huthi attacks from Yemen,” he said, referring to drone and missile strikes the Saudi-led coalition has either claimed were intercepted or denied altogether.
The president also said the resolution would “harm the foreign policy of the United States” and “harm our bilateral relationships.”
– War crimes –
And it would “negatively affect our ongoing efforts to prevent civilian casualties and prevent the spread of terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and ISIS, and embolden Iran’s malign activities in Yemen,” Trump said, referring to two Sunni Muslim militant groups and his Shiite bete noire.
The resolution, which passed the US House of Representatives earlier this month and the Senate in March, was a historic milestone, as it was the first time in history that a measure invoking the 1973 War Powers Resolution reached the president’s desk.
Democrats argued that US involvement in the Yemen conflict — through intelligence-sharing, logistical support and now-discontinued aerial refueling — is unconstitutional without congressional authority.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi — the country’s most senior Democratic politician — took aim at Trump’s veto in a series of tweets on Tuesday.
“The conflict in Yemen is a horrific humanitarian crisis that challenges the conscience of the entire world,” Pelosi wrote. “Yet the President has cynically chosen to contravene a bipartisan, bicameral vote of the Congress & perpetuate America’s shameful involvement in this heartbreaking crisis.”
Senator Bernie Sanders, a lead author of the Yemen resolution and a Democratic 2020 presidential candidate, said that “the people of Yemen desperately need humanitarian help, not more bombs.”
“I am disappointed, but not surprised, that Trump has rejected the bi-partisan resolution to end U.S. involvement in the horrific war in Yemen,” Sanders tweeted.
Critics of the intervention warn that Saudi forces are likely using US weapons to commit atrocities in the four-year war.
Some 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen over the past four years, according to the World Health Organization, although rights groups say the toll could be five times higher.
Both the Saudi-led alliance and Huthi rebels have been accused of acts that could amount to war crimes, while the coalition has been blacklisted by the United Nations for killing and maiming children.
Democrats are on the verge of setting a ‘time bomb’ for any candidate who can defeat Trump
If a new president takes over the White House in January 2021, he or she may quickly find that the Democratic Party that just won control of the executive branch left a loaded gun in the hands of the Republicans, who are all too eager to use it.
That should be the takeaway from reports about the budget negotiations between the House Democrats and the Trump administration. According to Bloomberg reporter Sahil Kapur, the parties are coalescing around an agreement to raise spending by $350 billion, offset that increase somewhat with about $75 billion, and extend the debt ceiling — now set to expire in the fall — to July 31, 2021.
State Sen. Royce West enters Democratic primary to challenge John Cornyn
“I’m battle tested,” West told supporters at a campaign launch event. “You’ve seen me in battle, and I’m ready today to announce my candidacy for the United States Senate.”
The Dallas attorney has been viewed as a potential primary contender for some time now, but he remained mum publicly on his plans. In June, West met with U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., where he reportedly had a “positive meeting” and signaled that he was likely to throw his hat in the ring. He filed the Federal Election Commission paperwork to formally launch his bid Friday.
Former NASA flight director Chris Kraft dies at 95
NASA's first flight director Chris Kraft, who played a critical role in the American space race, has died just days after 50th anniversary celebrations for the first Moon landing, the agency said.
The 95-year-old joined NASA in 1958 and developed the planning and control processes needed for crewed space missions, creating the agency's Mission Control operations that were used to manage the first US manned spaceflight and the Apollo missions to the Moon.
"America has truly lost a national treasure today with the passing of one of NASA's earliest pioneers," said agency chief Jim Bridenstine in a statement announcing Kraft's death on Monday.