9, January 2019
US President Donald Trump has described the situation along the country’s border with Mexico as a “growing crisis,” reiterating his call for funding a wall that he claimed was “absolutely critical to border security.”
In a televised speech from the Oval Office on Tuesday night, Trump said there was a “humanitarian and national security crisis” at the southern US border, adding that all Americans had been hurt by illegal immigration.
“This barrier is absolutely critical to border security,” Trump said in his address. “This is just common sense. This is a choice between right and wrong, between justice and injustice.”
The US president pointed the finger of blame at congressional democrats for the partial government shutdown which has caused political turmoil in Washington for nearly three weeks over disagreement on funding the construction of a border wall.
Trump stressed that the only solution to resolve the deadlock was for democrats to pass a spending bill which would include funding for a border wall with Mexico.
The US president said that law enforcement needed $5.7 billion to build border fence, which he claimed would stop the influx of drugs, criminals and illegal immigrants to the country.
Trump also said that he would invite congressional leadership to White House on Wednesday to negotiate a deal over border security.
Results of a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Tuesday showed 51 percent of Americans believe Trump deserves most of the blame for the shutdown, up 4 percentage points from last month.
Roughly one-third said congressional Democrats were to blame and 7 percent blamed congressional Republicans.
Congressional Democratic leadership swiftly responds to Trump
Shortly after the Oval Office address, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Charles Schumer condemned Trump’s remarks in a joint statement and accused him of trying to “stoke fear” with his calls for a wall on the Mexican border.
“Sadly, much of what we have heard from President Trump throughout this senseless shutdown has been full of misinformation and even malice,” said Pelosi, who spoke first. “The President has chosen fear. We want to start with the facts.”
Schumer criticized Trump for using the Oval Office to make his pitch for the US-Mexico border wall.
“Most presidents have used Oval Office addresses for noble purposes. This president just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear, and divert attention from the turmoil in his administration,” he said.
Schumer insisted that the US president should separate the government shutdown from the debate over border security, calling on Trump to end the shutdown “now.”