President Donald Trump has vetoed legislation seeking to limit his ability to order military action against Iran, saying the prohibition would “endanger the lives of American citizens and brave service members.”
“I am returning herewith without my approval S.J. Res. 68, a joint resolution that purports to direct the President to terminate the use of United States Armed Forces in hostilities against Iran,” President Trump said in a message to the Senate on Wednesday, May 6.
The resolution, which was approved by the Senate in April after passing the House in March would prevent President Trump from making an executive decision about military strikes against Iran without asking Congress for permission.
“This indefinite prohibition is unnecessary and dangerous. It would weaken the President’s authority in violation of Article II of the Constitution, and endanger the lives of American citizens and brave service members,” President Trump said.
“This joint resolution is unnecessary because it rests upon a faulty premise. Due to my decisive actions and effective policies, the United States is not engaged in the use of force against Iran. As Commander in Chief, I will always defend our Nation against threats to our security,” he continued.
The president pointed out that Iran and Iranian-backed militias have conducted a series of attacks on the U.S. forces and its interests in the Middle East, and the United States on Jan. 2 responded by eliminating Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force as he was traveling in Iraq. The purposes of this strike were to protect U.S. personnel, deter Iran from conducting or supporting further attacks against U.S. forces and interests, degrade the ability of Iran and Quds Force-backed militias to conduct attacks, and end Iran’s strategic escalation of attacks against and threats to U.S. interests.
On Jan. 7, Iran retaliated by launching 16 ballistic missiles against the United States and coalition forces in Iraq.
Protecting Americans and American interests
“One day later, this resolution was introduced,” President Trump argued. “Its apparent aim was to prevent an escalation in hostilities between the United States and Iran. Yet no such escalation has occurred over the past 4 months, contrary to the often dire and confident predictions of many.”
The president added that the resolution is dangerous because it could hinder the president’s ability to protect United States forces, allies, and partners, including Israel, from the continued threat posed by Iran and Iranian-backed militias. “The resolution states that it should not ‘be construed to prevent the United States from defending itself from imminent attack.’ But this overlooks the President’s need to respond to threats beyond imminent attacks on the United States and its forces,” he said.
“My Administration has taken strong actions, within statutory authority, to help keep our Nation safe, and I will not approve this resolution, which would undermine my ability to protect American citizens, service members, and interests,” he added.
In a statement released by the White House on Wednesday, President Trump also called the resolution a “very insulting” one, which was “introduced by Democrats as part of a strategy to win an election on November 3 by dividing the Republican Party.” He said, “The few Republicans who voted for it played right into their hands,” and “Congress should not have passed this resolution.”
The Senate, where Republicans hold a 53-to 47-seat majority, is holding a veto-override vote on Thursday and is not expected to have the two-thirds majority needed to override President Trump’s veto.