- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 16, 2019

President Trump vetoed a congressional resolution Tuesday night calling for an end of U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen, calling the measure “an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities.”

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

The president said U.S. forces are not engaged in hostilities “in or affecting Yemen” apart from counterterrorism operations against al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula and the Islamic State.

“There are no United States military personnel in Yemen commanding, participating in, or accompanying military forces of the Saudi‑led coalition against the Houthis in hostilities in or affecting Yemen,” he said in his veto message.

Congress voted for the first time this month to invoke the War Powers Resolution to stop U.S. involvement in a foreign conflict. Lawmakers, who are increasingly uneasy about the administration’s alliance with Saudi Arabia, lack the votes to override the veto.

Since 2015, the U.S. has provided support for the Saudi-led coalition, including intelligence sharing, logistics support, and, until recently, in-flight refueling of other countries’ aircraft.

“None of this support has introduced United States military personnel into hostilities,” Mr. Trump said.

“We are providing this support for many reasons. First and foremost, it is our duty to protect the safety of the more than 80,000 Americans who reside in certain coalition countries that have been subject to Houthi attacks from Yemen.”

Iran-supported Houthi rebels have attacked civilian and military targets in coalition countries, the president said, including areas frequented by U.S. citizens.

“In addition, the conflict in Yemen represents a ‘cheap’ and inexpensive way for Iran to cause trouble for the United States and for our ally, Saudi Arabia,” Mr. Trump said.

The president called the resolution “dangerous.”

“The Congress should not seek to prohibit certain tactical operations, such as in-flight refueling, or require military engagements to adhere to arbitrary timelines,” he said, adding that such action “would interfere with the President’s constitutional authority as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.”

“We cannot end the conflict in Yemen through political documents like S.J. Res. 7,” Mr. Trump said. “Peace in Yemen requires a negotiated settlement.”

Sen. Tim Kaine, Virginia Democrat, denounced Mr. Trump’s veto, saying that it “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.”

Mr. Kaine also accused Trump of ignoring other Saudi human-rights violations such as the killing of columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Turkey and the jailing of feminist activists.

“I hope my colleagues will show we won’t tolerate the Trump administration’s deference to Saudi Arabia at the expense of American security interests by voting to override this veto,” he said.

Chances of that are slim. The resolution passed the House on a 247-175 vote and the Senate by 54-46 — both far short of the needed two-thirds majority.

For his part, Mr. Trump also urged the Senate to confirm his nominees for key diplomatic posts in the Middle East.

Mr. Trump’s first veto came earlier this year, when he blocked a measure that sought to nullify his declaration of a national emergency on the southern border. There was an override effort but it failed.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide