Although brief, the president’s address to the nation rooted itself in concerns over the partial government shutdown and conflicts at the United States – Mexico border.
Tuesday marked day 18 of the partial shutdown of the government.
Much of the stalemate comes from the president’s demand for, at least, $5.7 billion for a border wall. Trump is calling the need for stronger borders a “security and humanitarian crisis.”
In his speech, Trump called the wall essential to the nation’s security.
He also mentioned that people had called the border wall “immoral.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat,did call the wall immoral in a meeting with her, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and the president.
He also said the wall would quickly pay for itself, in part, through new trade deals.
Despite his concerns, congressional Democrats remain unfazed and have, so far, refused to budge on a budget.
This leaves 800,000 workers either furloughed or working without pay.
Earlier Tuesday, the White House said the president was not expected to declare a national emergency, but the official continued to push that the delay of the wall was a humanitarian crisis.
Tuesday morning, in an interview with CBS News, Vice President Mike Pence pointed to past requests of $7 billion in humanitarian aid, immigration judges and detention facilities. He went on to say that Democrats had supported those motions.
In that conversation with CBS’ Major Garrett, Garrett asked what would bring the shutdown to an end.
“Take the facts,” said Pence. “Offer solutions as the President has done to address this crisis on our southern border. Now is the time for the Democrats to start negotiating and we can end this partial government shutdown and we can end this crisis at our southern border.”
“So it ends when you break them?” returned Garrett.
“It ends when they actually start negotiating,” Pence replied.
Post-speech analysis from CBS News pointed out that when former President Barack Obama asked for funding for border security, there was quite a bit of support.
President Obama asked for nearly $4 billion to confront a surge of young migrants heading toward the southern border. He used similar phrasing to President Trump, also calling the event an “urgent, humanitarian crisis.”
One of CBS’ analysts says the push back against President Trump’s similar request might be more of a protest against the president as a person, instead of against his actual policy.
On Jan. 3, Democrats passed a bill that would have invested $1.3 billion on border fencing and $7.08 billion on immigration and customs enforcement. However, that included no actual funding for the president’s border wall. That funding would have just enhanced fencing that already exists at the wall.
Later into the shutdown, Democrats promised to block any legislation that didn’t lead to the end of the shutdown.
Newly elected Rep. Ayanny Pressley has fired back at the president’s words, “I see right through you, and so do the American people. This has nothing to do with border security. Your shutdown and other Trump generated crises have brought a tsunami of hurt to the American people.”
The president ended his 9.5 minute speech Tuesday night with, “and that is what I will do, so help me God.”