Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) stepped up his anti-Trump game on Thursday when he promised to vote in favor of blocking the president’s national emergency declaration on border security.
According to CNN, the senator from Utah said his decision to block President Trump’s agenda stemmed from his desire to defend the Constitution.
“This is a vote for the Constitution and for the balance of powers that is at its core,” Mitt Romney said in a statement on Thursday. “For the Executive Branch to override a law passed by Congress would make it the ultimate power rather than a balancing power.”
Romney warned that President Trump is now guilty of the same Constitutional “erosion” as former President Obama, arguing that his support for the current president’s national emergency would be “inconsistent” with his beliefs. However, he emphasized that his vote would not be a vote against border security, which he agreed needs serious attention.
“We experienced a similar erosion of congressional authority with President Obama’s unilateral immigration orders — which I strenuously opposed,” Romney said in his statement. “In the case before us now, where Congress has enacted specific policy, to consent to an emergency declaration would be both inconsistent with my beliefs and contrary to my oath to defend the Constitution.”
He continued: “In fact, I agree that a physical barrier is urgently needed to help ease the humanitarian crisis at the southern border, and the administration already has $4.5 billion available within existing authority to fund a barrier — even without an emergency declaration.”
President Trump has already promised to veto the Senate vote if it were to pass, reports NBC News.
“A big National Emergency vote today by The United States Senate on Border Security & the Wall (which is already under major construction),” Trump wrote on Thursday. “I am prepared to veto, if necessary. The Southern Border is a National Security and Humanitarian Nightmare, but it can be easily fixed!”
At the White House, Trump told reporters, “I don’t know what the vote will be, it doesn’t matter I’ll probably have to veto and it’s not going to be overturned, and we’re going to have our whole thing.”
Trump emphasized to reporters that his national emergency declaration was “totally constitutional.”
“The legal scholars all say it’s totally constitutional,” he said. “It’s very important, it’s really a border security vote. It’s pure and simple — it’s a vote for border security, it’s a vote for no crime.”
The president also tweeted on Thursday that his national emergency declaration is constitutional, urging GOP lawmakers to get on board. “Prominent legal scholars agree that our actions to address the National Emergency at the Southern Border and to protect the American people are both CONSTITUTIONAL and EXPRESSLY authorized by Congress,” Trump said on Twitter. “If, at a later date, Congress wants to update the law, I will support those efforts, but today’s issue is BORDER SECURITY and Crime!!! Don’t vote with Pelosi!”
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Sen. Mike Leigh (R-UT), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) have also vowed to vote in favor of the House resolution to block the president’s national emergency declaration.