(Update: President Trump on Tuesday vetoed a resolution requiring him to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, calling it “an unnecessary,, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future.” Judging from the margin of votes for the resolution – 54-46 in the Senate, 247-175 in the House – supporters will be short of the two-thirds majority required in both chambers to override the veto, the second of Trump’s presidency.)
(CNSNews.com) – Sen. Bernie Sanders said Monday night the U.S. should “get out of the Saudi-led war in Yemen,” adding that President Trump could do something “extraordinary” by signing a resolution to do just that.
At his Fox News town hall in Pennsylvania, a Syrian-American audience member asked the 2020 presidential hopeful whether he agreed that the U.S. should “stay out of Syria, Venezuela and other countries that have their own personal issues,” or whether as president he would be “another cog in the war machine.”
Sanders introduced himself as someone who didn’t just oppose the war in Iraq but led the opposition to it.
The independent senator from Vermont then recalled leading a recent effort on Capitol Hill, together with Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee, requiring the U.S. to end military support to the Saudi-led military campaign against the Shi’ite Houthi rebels in Yemen.
“For the first time since the War Powers Act was passed 45 years ago, we succeeded in the House and in the Senate,” he added.
(The U.S. Senate passed the latest version of the resolution last month in a 54-46 vote, and the House did so earlier this month, by a 247-175 vote. Seven Senate Republicans and 16 House Republicans supported the measure, which the administration opposes.)
Sanders said he agrees with Trump when the president says that “he does not want to see this country involved in endless wars.”
“And Mr. President, tonight you have the opportunity to do something extraordinary: Sign that resolution,” he said. “Saudi Arabia should not be determining the military or foreign policy of this country.”
The U.S. has been providing aerial targeting assistance for aircraft of the Saudi-led coalition which in 2015 launched a campaign against the Iranian-backed Houthis. It has also carried out inflight refueling although the Pentagon suspended that support last November. The war has cost tens of thousands of Yemeni lives.
Sanders was then asked which nation he considered the biggest threat to the U.S., but said he did not like talking about countries posing a threat because that was used to justify spending “zillions more on the military.”
“I don’t like to use the world ‘enemy,’” he said.
Sanders said the U.S. and the rest of the world must come together, to “do everything we can to rid this world of nuclear weapons.”
And he defined climate change as a “national security issue.”
“We have got – as a nation – to reject Trump’s idea that climate change is a hoax,” he said. “I’m sure you’re familiar with the scientific reports that tell us that we have all but 12 years to significantly cut carbon emissions, or else there will be irreparable damage to the United States and countries all over the world.”
Elsewhere in his responses, Sanders was critical of U.S. defense spending, saying the U.S. military budget was bigger than the next ten countries’ combined.
“We’re now spending over $700 billion a year on defense,” he said.
Sanders said he agreed that “we need a strong defense,” but questioned why the Pentagon was “the only major agency of government that has not undertaken or completed a major audit.”
Very few people doubted that there was “a massive amount of waste and overruns,” he said.
“I support a strong defense, but I don’t support, you know, waste and profiteering within the military-industrial complex.”