In a move anti-war critics warned will "greenlight more atrocities" by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, U.S. President Donald Trump late Wednesday vetoed three congressional resolutions that aimed to block billions of dollars in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
"The blood of Jamal Khashoggi and the innocent people of Yemen is on the president's hands," Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) tweeted after Trump vetoed the bipartisan measures, which passed last month after the president attempted to skirt Congress and unilaterally authorize over $8 billion in arms sales to the repressive Gulf nations.
The congressional resolutions were not approved by a veto-proof majority, meaning any effort to override Trump's veto would likely fail.
As The Guardian reported, the "arms package included thousands of precision-guided munitions, other bombs and ammunition, and aircraft maintenance support" for the Saudis and UAE.
In his veto message, Trump cited unspecified "threats" from Iran as a justification for approving the weapons sales to Saudi Arabia without congressional approval.
Trump accuses @IlhanMN of supporting al-Qaeda, but he continues to sell weapons to the Saudi and Emirati monarchies that have directly armed the terrorist group. https://t.co/7F32Ly3LEC https://t.co/uG5gxjZO7n
— Dan Cohen (@dancohen3000) July 24, 2019
Mariam Iskajyan, program manager for policy and advocacy at Win Without War, said the president's vetoes are "heartbreaking" and could have devastating consequences for the people of Yemen, who are already suffering from the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
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"U.S. weapons have been used for the mass killing, starvation, and maiming of countless Yemeni civilians, including schoolchildren," Iskajyan tweeted. "We will never stop fighting to end U.S. brutality in Yemen."
One commentator suggested Trump's decision to continue funneling arms to the UAE and the Saudis as they commit atrocities in Yemen amounts to yet another reason House Democrats must launch an impeachment inquiry immediately:
Breaking: Trump just vetoed THREE bipartisan resolutions that would have blocked his emergency arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
— Polly Sigh (@dcpoll) July 24, 2019
Trump's decision to veto the congressional measures comes just months after the president vetoed a War Powers resolution that would have ended U.S. complicity in the Saudi-led coalition's war crimes in Yemen.
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement that Trump's vetoes Wednesday will "cost innocent lives."
"These weapons are going to continue fueling a reckless and brutal campaign of violence," said Engel, "and exacerbating the world's worst humanitarian catastrophe."