President Donald Trump vetoed a bill designed to block his emergency declaration at the Southern Border on Friday, in a ceremony at the White House.
“Today, I am vetoing this resolution,” Trump said. “Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution and I have the duty to veto it. And I’m very proud to veto it.”
The president defied Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congressional Democrats, and the “dirty dozen” Senate Republicans who joined them by signing his veto in a public ceremony at the White House.
He described the Congressional attempt to stop him as a “dangerous” and “reckless” resolution that was “a vote against reality.”
Trump said that over a million illegal aliens were set to rush the Southern border, including a 2000 percent increase of migrants from Central America trying to claim asylum.
“The vast majority are rejected, but smuggling operations making a tremendous amount of money, like they’ve never made before, are using these people to crash the system,” Trump said. “Our immigration system is stretched beyond the breaking point.”
He also noted that despite record numbers of apprehensions at the border, there was not enough space to detain them all.
“There’s absolutely nothing we can do. We’re bursting at the seams, you can only hold so much,” he said. “The only option then is to release them, and you can’t do that either because when you release them they come into our society and in many cases, they are stone cold criminals.”
Trump noted 59 different national emergency previous declarations by past presidents that were frequently used to assist foreign countries.
“That’s why I say, America First, if that’s ok, America First,” he said. “The only emergency Congress voted to revoke was the one to protect our own country so think of that. … This is the one that they don’t want to do and this is the one perhaps they should most do.”
Trump was joined by Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, and Attorney General William Barr, as well as members of law enforcement and Angel parents.
“I don’t know that I’ve ever been more proud than to be standing next to your desk than I am today,” Pence said, praising the president’s decision.
Barr described Trump’s declaration as “clearly authorized under that law and consistent with past precedent.”
“The humanitarian and security crisis is exactly the kind of emergency that presidents are permitted to address under the national emergencies act,” he said.
Barr is tasked with defending the declaration in court, and he publicly defended his decision in the Oval Office.
“The crisis that we’re dealing with today is right on our doorstep and presents a real clear and present danger to the American people,” Barr said.
The president defended his decision to declare a national emergency at the border.
“I think actually, national emergency was designed for a specific purpose like this,” Trump said.
“Absolutely,” Barr replied.
The president said he did not hold it against the twelve Senate Republicans who voted with Democrats to block his declaration.
Look, we’re doing what they have to do, and look, I put no pressure on anybody, I actually said, I could have gotten some of them to come along, I said, ‘I want you to vote your heart, do what you want to do, I’m not putting any pressure,’ I’ll let them know when there’s pressure OK? And I told them that. I said when I need your vote I’ll let you know. I didn’t need their vote because we all knew it was going to be a veto and they’re not going to be able to override.
Trump said that the funds repurposed for border defense would include 30-foot bollards and 18-foot wall.
“We have many miles under construction right now and we’re going be signing contracts in the next couple days for literally hundreds of miles of wall,” he said.
He also promised more canine units on the border to help catch drug smuggling across the Southern border.
“We’re getting dogs, more dogs, believe it or not … I still say, is that still true? There’s nothing that replaces a good dog,” Trump said. “We haven’t been able to match the dog.”
Trump denounced Democrats for refusing to work with him to change the immigration and asylum laws.
“There’s a point at which if the Democrats would, we’d be able to make a deal literally in 15 minutes, we could make a deal in changing catch and release, changing the horrible asylum laws that are so unfair, changing visa lottery, chain migration, these laws are horrendous,” he said.