Politics

The Power of the President: VETO

Friday, President Donald Trump signed his very first veto, a power the president possesses.

With the Senate Republicans bowing to Democrats’ pressure, President Trump’s emergency declaration was defeated. Those Republicans that voted with the left were, with a few exceptions, not unexpected. Those on the right scaling to/with the left are: Lamar Alexander-MO, Roy Blunt-MO, Susan Collins-ME, Mike Lee- UT, Jerry Morgan-KS, Lisa Murkowski- AK, Rand Paul-KY, Rob Portman-OH, Marco Rubio-FL, Pat Toomey-PA, and Roger Wicker-MS.

“Today I am vetoing this resolution,” President Trump echoed to a phalanx of reporters in the Oval Office. “Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution, and I have the duty to veto it,” remarking that the resolution is “dangerous” and “reckless.”

As he signed the veto, he was joined by Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General William Barr, and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. AG Barr said that the president’s emergency order was “clearly authorized under the law” and “solidly grounded in law.”

There was never any question that if the Senate voted against the Emergency Declaration that President Trump would veto that vote. It had been widely reported that he would take this step. He did.

Now the legislation returns to the Congress to see if they can somehow override the president’s veto. Most watchers and counters of votes on such things do not think the Congress has an adequate amount of votes to overturn the veto. That means that this whole exercise is in vain and the president will get the emergency declaration regardless.

The humanitarian crisis at the border the president has so often remarked about is not going away. I talked to several U.S. Border Patrol agents on the Texas/Mexico border: all of them said they were being overrun. The public does not fully know the depth and dire situation playing out at our southern border. The federal agents also spoke of a large number of people coming across the border with highly contagious diseases like measles, mumps, tuberculosis and chicken pox. In this era of the anti-vaccination movement, this creates an even more dangerous situation for the entire U.S. population.

It is reported that the Republicans bolted to the other side for various reasons. Besides those that almost always vote against the president (I am not sure how they call themselves Republicans) there were those that voted with the left on principle, saying the Congress should have funded the barrier and not forced the president to take the emergency declaration route.

In the end, it went down in a 59-to-41 vote against the emergency declaration.

In a statement after the vote, Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said, ”The president’s veto is as meaningless as his signature on the national emergency declaration. Congress has rejected the president’s declaration, and now the courts will be the ultimate arbiter of its legality. We look forward to seeing him in court and to the shellacking that he will receive at the hands of an independent judiciary.”

Personally, I think this is wishful thinking. Even if the emergency declaration ultimately gets rescinded, the president will still have been able to repurpose other funds and tap additional sources to build the barrier.

The legislature fiddles as the U.S. burns and contagions seep through the nation’s seam.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Jon Harris

Jon Harris is a former Army NCO, Sergeant Morales Club member, civilian law enforcement officer, and defense contractor with over 30 years in the law enforcement community. He is published in Army Trainer Magazine, authored regular columns in several newspapers, and is the author of the Cold War novel Breakpoint. His adventures as a security contractor in Afghanistan and Iraq can be found on www.dispatchfromdownrange.com. He holds a B.S. in Government and Politics and an M.S. in Criminal Justice and is currently completing his Juris Doctor degree.

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