Washington, DC – The US Senate on Thursday delivered another strong rebuke of President Donald Trump‘s handling of the US relationship with Saudi Arabia, expressing disapproval the administration’s move to bypass Congress to complete eight billion dollars in US weapons sales to the kingdom.
The 53-45 vote rejects Trump’s claim that “emergency” circumstances require the United States to provide Riyadh more precision-guided bombs because of “Iranian threats”.
Senator Bob Menendez, a top Democrat leader on foreign affairs, and Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican and political ally of Trump, led the challenge to the Saudi arms sales.
“These weapons won’t counter Iranian threats. This is all about using them in Yemen,” Menendez said in remarks to the Senate on Wednesday.
Trump and his advisers used the emergency declaration to bypass a requirement in the Arms Export Control Act that Congress approve such arms sales amid growing opposition by politicians to providing US precision-guided weapons to Saudi Arabia.
The planned sale also provides for co-production and manufacture of hi-tech bomb components in Saudi Arabia for the first time.