Menendez lashes into Trump. “If a Democratic president acted in this way, Republicans would be calling him or her a dictator.’’

Menendez lashes into Trump. “If a Democratic president acted in this way, Republicans would be calling him or her a dictator.’’

nj.com

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey lashed into President Donald Trump Friday after the president vetoed a congressional resolution overturning his declaration of national emergency to fund a southern border wall that Congress specifically rejected.

“To be sure, if a Democratic president acted in this way, Republicans would be calling him or her a dictator," said Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Senator Bob Menendez

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@SenatorMenendez

To be sure, if a Democratic president acted in this way, Republicans would be calling him or her a dictator.

Trump had promised that Mexico would pay for the wall, then refused to sign a spending bill to fund the government without taxpayer funding for the barrier, leading to a record-long, 35-day shutdown.

On Friday, he said there was an emergency that justified him overruling the will of Congress.

“Our porous southern border continues to be a magnet for lawless migration and criminals and has created a border security and humanitarian crisis that endangers every American,” Trump said in his veto message.

Trump’s policy was unpopular among U.S. voters, according to two polls released earlier this month. In a Quinnipiac University survey 66 percent of voters disapproved of Trump’s action, more than double the 31 percent who supported it. A Monmouth University poll of U.S. adults offered a similar breakdown, with 65 percent opposing the emergency and 33 percent in favor.

Menendez and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., were among the 59 senators who voted on Thursday to reject Trump’s declaration. The House passed the resolution last month with all 11 New Jersey House Democrats in favor.

Sen. Cory Booker

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@SenBooker

Just now: I, along with the majority, of the Senate voted to REJECT @realdonaldtrump's emergency declaration for his wall. The President's scare tactics & tantrums won't work. The fact that Pres. Trump didn't get his way, is NOT a national emergency. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1106196590065303552

Donald J. Trump

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@realDonaldTrump

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 has said he would take the funds from military construction already approved by Congress.

House Appropriations Committee Democrats said that could threaten $41 million for a munitions disassembly complex at Picatinny Arsenal and $10.2 million for a new refueling system for planes with hazardous cargo at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

Booker, Menendez and the 11 House Democrats told acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan in a letter Thursday that they opposed taking any defense funds from New Jersey.

“It would be irresponsible to prevent these military installations in our state from receiving this critical funding," the lawmakers wrote.

"Furthermore, it would weaken our national security and mission readiness if these installations were not properly equipped. If your objective is to make the nation safer, transferring money away from the military’s vital operations in New Jersey would do the exact opposite.”

The only Republican in the state’s congressional delegation, Rep. Chris Smith, R-4th Dist., also was the only lawmaker not to sign the letter. Smith has said that Joint Base officials told him that the funding earmarked for the facility was not threatened.