By issuing his first veto, Donald Trump has emulated past presidents, many of whom exercised their legislation-blocking powers under dubious pretexts. In fact, US history is rife with controversial vetoes.

Trump sparked the ire of Congress on Friday after he announced that he would not sign a resolution which would overturn his declared ‘state of emergency’ over the US-Mexico border. The House is expected to vote on March 26 to override the veto, although it’s unlikely that lawmakers can muster the necessary two-thirds majority in both chambers.

While Speaker Nancy Pelosi has accused Republican members of Congress of engaging in “partisan hypocrisy,” the unflattering truth is that presidential administrations from both major parties have used the veto power to block – and preserve – deeply divisive laws and dictates.

1. Nixon gives thumbs down to national child care

Apr 18, 1970 – Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, USA – President Richard M. Nixon and the Apollo 13 crew salute U.S. flag during the post-mission ceremonies at Hickam Air Force Base © NASA / Global Look Press

It may be hard for most American parents to fathom, but they were once just a signature away from being entitled to universal, federally-subsidized child care. Congress passed the Comprehensive Child Development Bill in 1971, but President Richard Nixon axed the law, tapping into Cold War hysteria by arguing that a national day care system would create a “communal approach to child-rearing.” 

2. Ford opposes greater government transparency

President Gerald Ford with the Kilgore Rangerettes in April 28, 1976 © Global Look Press / Danita Delimont

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