National Politics

Rubio, Scott split vote over Trump’s border wall emergency as president promises veto

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL. TNS

Florida’s two U.S. senators split over President Donald Trump’s border wall Thursday, as a dozen Republicans joined Democrats in the the upper chamber to reject the president’s emergency declaration.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio was among those in the president’s own party who voted to terminate the president’s emergency declaration, which Trump issued Feb. 15 after being dissatisfied with the amount of money Congress allocated toward his plans to expand a physical barrier at the country’s southern border.

In a statement issued by his office, Rubio said he supports the wall. But he worried that Trump, by diverting billions in dollars reserved by Congress for military spending, is setting a precedent that could be used by a future president to pursue problematic projects.

“We have an emergency at our border, which is why I support the president’s use of forfeiture funds and counter-drug money to build a wall,” said Rubio, who’d previously explained his opposition to Trump’s emergency order. “However, I cannot support moving funds that Congress explicitly appropriated for construction and upgrades of our military bases.”

In an unusual rebuke, 11 other Republican senators joined all 43 Democrats in voting to overturn Trump’s emergency declaration, resulting in a 59-41 defeat for Trump. The House voted last month to terminate the president’s order.

In reaction, Trump on Thursday tweeted “VETO!” immediately after the vote. If he does veto the resolution that passed Thursday, a super-majority of Congress would need to oppose Trump’s emergency declaration — and the votes aren’t likely there.

Florida’s other senator, Republican Rick Scott, was among those who supported Trump Thursday.

“For years, everyone in both parties has said they want to secure our border, but they never did anything about it,” Scott said in a statement. “It’s time to get serious about border security and the safety of American families.”