Trump’s Veto Won’t End Debate on US Role in Yemen War

Unauthorized, unpopular war remains a sore spot in Congress

In vetoing the Congressional bill demanding the US withdraw from the Yemen War, President Trump may have thought he had the final word on the matter. It is unlikely, after all, that there will be enough votes in the Senate to override the veto.

But the debate isn’t over. The Yemen War remains as unauthorized and as unpopular as ever, and with lawmakers still salty about Trump’s do-nothing attitude toward the Saudi murder of Jamal Khashoggi, there are likely to be myriad new resolutions aiming to limit US involvement int he war, and also US military backing of the Saudi kingdom.

The veto itself only added to the controversy, as it directly amounted to a US president overruling Congress on a matter of war-making, something the constitution clearly puts in Congress’s hands.

Even many Conservatives who would generally back Trump are saying the Yemen War is plainly unconstitutional. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) took things a step further, saying Trump is turning the US into the “prostitute of Saudi Arabia” with the veto.

In the end, Trump vetoed the bill because he could, and because Saudi Arabia wanted it vetoed. Throughout months of debate on the War Powers challenge, his administration never offered any credible defense of the war, mostly trying to sell it as being small enough that it didn’t matter, and adding that since Saudis bought US warplanes they were entitled to mid-air refueling as customer service. They were bad arguments then, and now, and one veto isn’t going to make everything else go away.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of