U.S. President Trump has vetoed a congressional resolution to prevent military action against Iran without first receiving permission from Congress amid rising tensions in the Middle East.
In a statement on May 6, Trump described lawmakers’ attempt to curtail a president’s war powers as “very insulting” and based on “misunderstandings of facts and law.”
In a rare show of bipartisanship, the House passed the nonbinding resolution in March after it had earlier cleared the Senate.
It came amid concern that the United States was on a warpath after a U.S. airstrike killed Iran’s most powerful general, Qasem Soleimani, and a top Iraqi militia leader in Baghdad in January.
Iran responded by launching ballistic missiles at an Iraqi base housing U.S troops that left more than 100 soldiers injured with traumatic brain injuries.
The Constitution gives Congress the sole power to declare war. But Trump said that “contrary to the resolution, the United States is not engaged in the use of force against Iran.”
“The resolution implies that the President’s constitutional authority to use military force is limited to defense of the United States and its forces against imminent attack. That is incorrect,” Trump said.
“We live in a hostile world of evolving threats, and the Constitution recognizes that the President must be able to anticipate our adversaries’ next moves and take swift and decisive action in response. That’s what I did!”
Trump also said the strike on Soleimani was allowed under a 2002 resolution authorizing war with Iraq.
The resolution now heads back to the Senate, where it is unlikely to muster a two-thirds majority to overcome a presidential veto.
Tensions rose between Washington and Tehran after Trump in 2018 withdrew from the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and reimposed crushing sanctions.