Trump appeals to public as shutdown drags on
by Harvest Prude
Posted 1/09/19, 10:55 am
WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump in his first Oval Office address Tuesday night declared that migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border represent a “humanitarian and national security crisis” and demanded Congress fund a wall. In his televised appeal to the American people, the president said the current flow of illegal immigration had overwhelmed the system, citing concerns of drug smuggling and human trafficking. He said that women and children targeted by traffickers represented “the biggest victims by far of our broken system.” Sharp partisan disagreement over the border wall and its funding has led to a partial government shutdown, now in its 19th day. Trump said the government remained closed “for one reason, because Democrats will not fund border security.” He urged Congress to sign off on his funding request, which would go toward more border patrol agents and immigration judges, medical aid, and a steel barrier that would “keep America “safer than ever before.”
Minutes later, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., delivered a televised rebuttal focused almost entirely on the prolonged shutdown. They said the president and Republican leaders had rejected bipartisanship by refusing to support Democratic legislation to reopen the government. Pelosi argued new technology would be a better security solution than a physical barrier and said the migrants at the border represented a humanitarian crisis, not a national security one. “President Trump must stop holding people hostage, manufacturing a crisis, and reopen the government,” she said.
On Wednesday, the president will go to Capitol Hill to have a lunch meeting with Senate Republicans. He has asked congressional leaders from both parties to meet at 3 p.m. at the White House for further negotiations. On Thursday, Trump plans to visit the Mexican border.
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Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.