President Donald Trump will sign the first veto of his presidency Friday afternoon, rejecting a congressional resolution overturning his decision to declare a national emergency on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The signing is expected to take place at 3:30 p.m. in the Oval Office and comes a day after 12 Republicans joined Senate Democrats to rebuke the president’s decision to declare a national emergency last month in order to redirect funds to build a wall on the southern border.
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White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said Friday the veto marks a “sad” and “very important” moment in Trump’s presidency.
“Not just because it’s the first veto this president has issued, but it’s a sad moment and important moment because of what it actually represents — and that is a lack of understanding and belief on the part of Democrats in Congress to recognize the serious, severe crisis we face along our southern border,” Gidley said on Fox News.
The Senate vote followed an unsuccessful whipping effort by the president and White House to persuade skeptical Republicans to stick with the president. Ultimately, despite last-minute efforts by a handful of senators to reach a compromise that would have modified the 1976 National Emergencies Act, the president told Republican lawmakers to vote however they pleased. The measure passed the House last month.
“It’s far from me to try and guess why Republicans would do this. Some mention the procedural line they didn’t like. Some questioned it on other grounds,“ Gidley said. “But the fact is, it’s bad because that vote against that measure effectively makes our country less safe. It put American people, American people’s lives, at risk.“
Ahead of the anticipated veto, Trump predicted that the Republicans who stuck with him will be rewarded by voters back home.
“I’d like to thank all of the Great Republican Senators who bravely voted for Strong Border Security and the WALL,“ Trump tweeted. “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!“
Neither chamber mustered the support for the resolution necessary to override a presidential veto, which requires two-thirds of the vote in both chambers. Still, the House is expected to vote on March 26 to try to override the veto.
The rebuke from members of his own party was a blow to Trump, especially because it involved his core campaign promise to construct a massive wall along the border. His declaration has proved a conundrum for GOP lawmakers torn between supporting his border security efforts and asserting Congress’ power as the allocator of federal funds.
The president’s move also comes two days after the Senate voted to cut off U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s bloody civil war, a measure Trump has pledged to veto as well.