WASHINGTON, Feb 25 (Reuters) – Nearly 60 former senior U.S. national security officials on Monday rejected President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration, saying there was “no factual basis” to circumvent Congress to build his long-promised border wall.
In an 11-page letter, former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and John Kerry, both Democrats, along with former Republican Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and others, said there was no documented emergency at the U.S. border with Mexico.
Diverting funds to the project will “undermine U.S. national security and foreign policy interests,” the 58 ex-officials wrote in the letter, first reported by the Washington Post.
Trump moved to redirect federal funds intended for other purposes to build the border wall after Congress rejected his demand for $5.7 billion in construction money. His effort already faces numerous challenges, including multiple lawsuits.
Democrats have also launched a resolution to stop Trump’s border emergency and, on Tuesday, the Democratically controlled House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the measure aimed at stopping it.
The resolution’s fate is less clear in the U.S. Senate, which is controlled by Trump’s fellow Republicans, though some Republicans have expressed concern about his declaration.
In a separate letter on Monday, 23 former Republican U.S. lawmakers also urged current members of Congress to pass the resolution, Politico reported.
Even if it passes, Trump has said he would veto it, and Congress would need to muster two-thirds of lawmakers to override a veto.