Trump Vetoes 3 Bills Prohibiting Arms Sales To Saudi Arabia

Some members of Congress have expressed concerns that the weapons could be used on Yemeni civilians.

Donald Trump shakes hands with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office.
Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images

Some members of Congress have expressed concerns that the weapons could be used on Yemeni civilians.

The White House announced on Wednesday that President Donald Trump vetoed three bills worth more than $8 billion that Congress had passed in efforts to stop arms sales, which would benefit Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates

The President pushed the vetos through without congressional approval.

Congressman Eliot Engel said there is no emergency that calls for Trump to go around Congress with these arms deals, according to CNN.

“The President’s veto sends a grim message that America’s foreign policy is no longer rooted in our core values — namely a respect for human rights — and that he views Congress not as a coequal branch of government, but an irritant to be avoided or ignored,” wrote Engel in a press release on Wednesday afternoon.

On July 17, the House approved legislation to block Trump from a weapons deal with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which inflamed the relationship between Congress and the President, according to USA Today.

Many lawmakers feel that the weapons sent to the Arab countries, which includes missiles, munitions, and surveillance aircraft, would be used against civilians in the civil war in Yemen.

“The United States is very concerned about the conflict’s toll on innocent civilians and is working to bring the conflict in Yemen to an end,” Trump said in his veto statement.

“But we cannot end it through ill-conceived and time-consuming resolutions that fail to address its root causes.”

Lawmakers also pointed to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. U.S. intelligence said that the murder was ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in October in Istanbul. Saudi leaders have yet to answer for the brutal murder.

The vetoes come a day before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee plans to vote on two bills to impose sanctions on Saudi Arabia. Trump has pushed back against Congress’ efforts to punish Saudi Arabia with sanctions.

The president announced in May that he would use emergency authority to push through the weapons sales.

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“The misguided licensing prohibitions in the joint resolution directly conflict with the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States,” Trump said in his veto statement.

The President wants to keep close ties with the Crown Prince whom he considers an important player in the Middle East and an ally against Iran. Trump also sees the production of these arms as a way to generate jobs in the U.S., according to Al Jazeera.

Trump said that the three resolutions he vetoed would “weaken America’s global competitiveness” and damage America’s relationship with allies.

Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the Senate will hold a vote on whether to override Trump’s vetos, however, it is unlikely there will be enough supporting votes for an override, according to USA Today.

This marks the third time the President has used his veto power since taking office in 2017.