Trump, Democrats Dig In Over Border Wall In Addresses To Nation
In his first Oval Office address to the nation, President Donald Trump stood by his demand that Democrats provide $5.7 billion in funding for his controversial border wall in order to end the partial government shutdown.
Trump described the situation on the U.S. border with Mexico as a “crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul” and argued construction of his proposed wall is “absolutely critical” to border security.
The national address by the president comes as an impasse over funding for the wall has led to a government shutdown that is now into its third week.
Democratic lawmakers have steadfastly refused to fund the wall, calling on Trump to reopen the government before negotiating on the issue of border security.
In their response to Trump’s address, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., accused the president of making “misleading” claims about illegal immigration and throwing a “temper tantrum” over the border wall.
The Democratic leaders noted that the House has passed legislation that would reopen the parts of the government affected by the shutdown and provide more time to negotiate on border security.
However, Trump sought to blame Democrats for the shutdown after indicating just last month that he would claim ownership of the move.
“The government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only: the Democrats will not fund border security,” Trump said.
Trump argued the shutdown could be resolved in a 45 minute meeting and noted he has invited congressional leaders to the White House on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Schumer claimed Trump is manufacturing a crisis and stoking fear in an attempt to divert attention from the turmoil in his administration.
The president has recently suggested he could bypass Congress and obtain funding for the wall by declaring the situation on the border a national emergency but stopped short of announcing that decision in his address.
With Trump and Democrats showing no sign of wavering on their positions, the government shutdown seems likely to continue for some time.
After meeting with congressional leaders last Friday, Trump confirmed he told Democrats he is willing to allow the government shutdown to continue for months or even years in order to obtain funding for the wall.
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