In his televised statement, aired on every network and just short of ten minutes at 9:00 p.m. ET (6 PT), President Trump defended his border barrier and declared a national humanitarian crisis for the States. He said the only reason the government remains shut down is that Democrats, some of whom supported a physical barrier across the southern border in the past (i.e. Chuck Schumer) refuse to approve a plan to fund urgent border security measures and the barrier, which border agents and professional law enforcement asked for.
President Trump compared the proposed border barrier to walls wealthy politicians build around their houses for the sake of protecting their loved ones. He made a case for shielding American citizens from harm caused by a flood of drugs and murderous aliens with extensive criminal histories across the southern border. President Trump reinforced his positive stance on legal immigration when people legally enter the US and contribute productively to the country.
Per the presidential address, there is no more room for illegal migrants and they are consuming public resources belonging to American citizens. He acknowledged the broken system and that women and children are primary victims from migrants’ trips through Mexico to the US. A large number of women are sexually abused during the journey. That being said, the President urged Congress to do their job and vote for common sense security measures he put forth. He punctuated his statement with adjectives like “sad”, “terrible”, and “grief-stricken”. The President largely relied on garnering support through the power of emotional effects on an audience, not intellect.
Democratic Congressional leaders, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer were not convinced by President Trump’s address. The pair briefly commented to the President’s address from the speaker’s balcony of the US Capitol building.
Nancy Pelosi said President Trump used misinformation and malice in his address, implementing fear as a tool to galvanize the consciousness of the American people. She began with their version of the facts— that President Trump was refusing to approve bipartisan funding bills to reopen the government. She emphasized there will not be funding for the ineffective border wall the President will not stop obsessing over. She cited cruel and counterproductive policies President Trump created, further endangering women and children at the border. President Trump is holding Americans “hostage”.
Leader Schumer reiterated Democrats and President Trump both want stronger border security. The disagreement stems from how to best strengthen border security. He declared America should be able to safely welcome legal immigrants and refugees. And the national symbol should be the Statue of Liberty, not an unwelcoming thirty-foot border wall.
As of Tuesday, the government shutdown has been effective for 18 days.
Featured image via Flickr/Gage Skidmore