Trump vetoes Congress bill to end USA backing for Saudis

Sergio Conner
April 17, 2019

President Donald Trump issued the second veto of his presidency Tuesday to override legislation ending USA military involvement in Yemen's civil war.

In issuing the second veto of his presidency, Mr. Trump said the congressional action would be "endangering the lives of American citizens and fearless service members, both today and in the future".

It was just the second veto of Trump's presidency and Congress lacks the votes to override him.

The measure had passed the House on a 247-to-175 vote this month and was approved by the Senate last month with the support of seven Republicans. The resolution had invoked the War Powers Act to distance the United States from the conflict in Yemen, which began in 2014. The House has voted to end American involvement in the Yemen war, rebuffing the Trump administration's support for the Saudi-led military campaign.

No one was surprised by the veto - had Trump wanted to comply with the resolution, he could have withdrawn support to Saudi Arabia at any time.

He also said the resolution would hurt efforts to prevent civilian casualties in the war, and prevent the spread of terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and ISIS, and that it would "embolden Iran's malign activities in Yemen".

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denounced Trump's veto, saying it would serve to "perpetuate America's shameful involvement in this heartbreaking crisis".

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On Tuesday, several Democrats expressed their disappointment after Trump vetoed the congressional resolution.

The decision to keep support for the war in Yemen is perplexing to some members of the administration, considering the president is usually inclined to remove USA troops from all conflict zones.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees, responded Tuesday night that with his veto, Trump "shows the world he is determined to keep aiding a Saudi-backed war that has killed thousands of civilians and pushed millions more to the brink of starvation".

Kaine accused Mr. Trump of turning a blind eye to Khashoggi's killing and the jailing of women's rights activists in Saudi Arabia.

'From a president elected on the promise of putting a stop to our endless wars, this veto is a painful missed opportunity, ' California Congressman Ro Khanna said in a statement. McCaul said it was an abuse of the War Powers Resolution and predicted it could disrupt US security co-operation agreements with more than 100 countries.

Trump used his first veto in March to shut down a bipartisan resolution condemning his declaration of a national emergency to secure funding for a southern border wall.

Backers of the measure said the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen had made the humanitarian crisis worse, harshly criticizing Riyadh for killing civilians.

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