For the first time since entering the White House, Donald Trump has issued his first veto on a bill. The president rejected a bill on Friday that would have ended his national emergency declaration at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to CNN.
Trump, surrounded by Customs and Border Protection agents and individuals who had lost loved ones that were killed by illegal immigrants, vetoed the bill in front of reporters in the Oval Office after 12 Senate Republicans joined Democrats in passing a resolution that rebuked the president for his emergency declaration at the southern border.
While speaking with reporters, Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican from Utah, said that he decided to support the measure not because he was against the wall, but because it was a violation of the constitution.
“This is a constitutional question, it’s a question of the balance of power that is core to our constitution,” he said. “This is not about the president or border security, in fact I support border security, I support a barrier.”
Upon hearing that the Republican-controlled Senate had banded together to pass the bill, Trump tweeted that he planned to veto the measure.
“I look forward to VETOING the just passed Democrat inspired Resolution which would OPEN BORDERS while increasing Crime, Drugs, and Trafficking in our Country,” Trump wrote. “I thank all of the Strong Republicans who voted to support Border Security and our desperately needed WALL!”
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) March 15, 2019
Trump issued his emergency declaration last month after failing to secure funding for his signature border wall through the traditional channels. At the time, he admitted that it wasn’t necessary to declare a national emergency, but that it was more expedient to do things that way.
Many lawmakers have expressed concern that in doing so, the president has opened the door for future presidents to use the emergency powers to gain funding for any initiative they want to champion, bypassing Congress. The fact that 12 Republicans stood against Trump is seen by many as a stunning rebuke to the leader that they have supported through various challenges.
Trump’s veto will likely be the last word on the matter since it is doubtful that the Senate can muster the necessary supermajority needed to override his veto. That doesn’t mean that the issue is resolved, however. The president now faces numerous legal challenges over the issue. Over a dozen states and numerous private groups have filed suit against the declaration.