The Trump White House suffered a stinging defeat on Thursday when a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers voted to block sales of American arms to Saudi Arabia.
The vote in favor of blocking the arms sales received affirmative votes from all Senate Democrats, as well as votes from Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Todd Young (R-IN).
Graham, who is usually one of President Donald Trump’s staunchest allies, said he voted for the bill because he believed the United States could not ignore the behavior of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, as well as the Saudi government’s killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“Now is not the time to do business as usual with Saudi Arabia,” Graham said, according to the New York Times. “I am also very concerned about the precedent these arms sales would set by having the administration go around legitimate concerns of the Congress.”
The Trump administration, led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, used an emergency order to circumvent Congress and continue supplying arms to the Saudis, who are widely blamed for creating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis via their proxy war with Iran in the Middle Eastern nation of Yemen.
Even though the bill blocking Saudi arms sales is expected to also pass in the House of Representatives, Trump has said he will veto it once it reaches his desk.