White House Chief of Staff: Senate Trying to Undermine Commander in Chief With Yemen Vote

Says 'senior advisers' are calling for a veto

Doubling down on the position that the executive branch, despite what the US Constitution clearly says, has unilateral war-making powers, a new statement was issued by President Trump’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) objecting to the Senate’s vote on a challenge to the Yemen War.

The Senate vote, which passed on Wednesday, declared the war illegal on the grounds that Congress never authorized the US to go to war in Yemen. The statement argues that this is in violation of President Trump’s constitutional powers, saying it is inappropriate to “override the President’s determination as Commander-in-Chief.”

The point of the OMB statement was to say that “senior advisers’ are telling Trump to veto the Senate bill, which the White House had already indicated he would do anyhow. Why the OMB is issuing the statement is unclear, though OMB Director Mick Mulvaney is also President Trump’s acting Chief of Staff.

Either way, this underscores a very problematic position in the last several administrations on the president having largely unchecked power over military action. It is only now that Congress is making an unusual attempt to check a war they didn’t authorize.

Even the veto is problematic from a constitutional perspective. Congress is meant to have sole war-making power, and in both the House and Senate voting that Yemen War violates the War Powers Act, they are doing so. Having the president override the Congressional check through a veto was clearly not contemplated constitutionally.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.