US President Donald Trump on Tuesday vetoed a joint resolution by Congress that would require the president to withdraw the US military from Yemen.
In his veto message to the Senate, the president described the resolution as:
an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future.
The president first argued that the resolution is unnecessary as there are no US military members who are “commanding, participating in, or accompanying” the Saudi coalition forces in operations against the Houthis in Yemen. Trump stated that US forces merely provide non-combat support ranging from intelligence to in-flight refueling of aircraft. The president justified this support as necessary for protecting Americans living in coalition countries that are targets of Houthi attacks from Yemen.
The president also took issue with the resolution as an attempt to restrict his constitutional authority as Commander in Chief, saying that such restriction would interfere with the ability of US forces to perform operations and hamper the ability to withdraw at a time the military deems more appropriate.
Trump also discussed foreign policy ramifications of the resolution as hurting US relationships with the coalition countries that the US works with in combating terrorist organizations. He further blamed the lack of peace in the region on the Senate, which he criticized as “impeding our ability to engage regional partners in support of the United Nations-led peace process” by failing to approve his nominees for diplomatic positions.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) released a statement in response:
The President has cynically chosen to contravene a bipartisan, bicameral vote of the Congress and perpetuate America’s shameful involvement in this heartbreaking crisis. … This conflict must end, now. The House of Representatives calls on the President to put peace before politics.”
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who sponsored the resolution in the Senate, commented:
I am disappointed, but not surprised, that Trump has rejected the bi-partisan resolution to end U.S. involvement in the horrific war in Yemen. The people of Yemen desperately need humanitarian help, not more bombs.