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VIDEO: Trump signs first veto of presidency, overrules Congress on border funds

President Donald Trump signing a bill on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018, in the EEOB building in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
March 15, 2019

President Trump has just signed the first veto of his administration on Friday afternoon.

The veto strikes down Congress’ bill overturning his national emergency declaration on the border wall.

Trump said “the protection of the nation is my highest duty,” adding that Congress’ attempt to overturn the declaration put “countless Americans in danger.”

“Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution and I have the duty to veto it. I’m very proud to veto it,” he said.

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The House of Representatives will hold another vote on Mar. 26 to overturn the veto.

“I’d like to thank all of the Great Republican Senators who bravely voted for Strong Border Security and the WALL. 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!” Trump tweeted Friday.

The veto comes one day after the Senate’s 59-41 vote to overturn the declaration, which included 12 Republicans.

Soon after the vote was recorded, President Trump tweeted a single word vow: “VETO!”

Not long after, he added: “I look forward to VETOING the just passed Democrat inspired Resolution which would OPEN BORDERS while increasing Crime, Drugs, and Trafficking in our Country. I thank all of the Strong Republicans who voted to support Border Security and our desperately needed WALL!”

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The House of Representatives passed their version of the bill in late February in a 245-182 vote.

During a ceremony held in the Oval Office for the veto on Friday, Attorney General Bill Barr said Trump’s national emergency declaration was “clearly authorized under the law,” adding that the southern border crisis warranted such a declaration.

The Department of Justice previously defended the declaration.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd said, “The President acted well within his discretion in declaring a national emergency concerning the southern border.”

“The President’s emergency Proclamation reasonably described the current situation as an ongoing ‘border security and humanitarian crisis,'” Boyd added. “The crisis at the border … may qualify as an emergency even though it, too, is not entirely new.”

Trump’s national emergency order uses powers afforded by the National Emergencies Act to determine what issues warrant an emergency declaration, and taps into unused funds for a response.

Trump deployed the national emergency order after Congress failed to agree on a bill that included the $5.7 billion in funds that he had steadfastly requested for construction of a wall on the southern border.

The order would draw $6.5 billion from federal departments and direct those funds to the southern border security efforts. Most of the funds would come from the Pentagon’s military construction budget.