We asked politicians and pundits with local ties to comment on President Trump's Tuesday night, nationally televised address to the American public on the government shutdown and his related quest to build a border wall. Here are some of those comments:
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, in comments to Fox News: "The president wants to find common ground. ... In those meetings every Democrat will say they want border security. So I say, What's your definition of border security? Who in America today believes you can have border security with not some form of a barrier? ... We know it works, we know we need it, we know we have to have technology as well. This is where the president has stood strong. He is the one person in the room that's trying to find compromise, where the Democrats will not move at all."
Rep. TJ Cox, D-Fresno: “The American people sent a strong message last November that they want a Congress that works for the people — not more partisan games. President Trump has forgotten that his responsibility is to the American people — including the federal employees who are struggling to make ends meet without their paychecks — not to talk show hosts. Democrats and Republicans alike agree that we need strong border security. But Trump’s border wall is an expensive and ineffective waste of the taxpayers’ money, and this fight is a distraction from the real problems that we were sent to Washington to address. President Trump should immediately end this dangerous and unnecessary shutdown, and let us get back to work for the American people.”
Republican Ken Mettler, former candidate for Congress: "President Trump delivered a concise statement as to his duty to protect the American people. He outlined a compassionate solution to the border emergency. No longer should American blood be shed by illegal alien criminals, nor should innocent migrant women and children be exploited."
Democrat Mark Martinez, Cal State Bakersfield political science professor: “Historically we have had U.S. presidents trying to calm Americans in times of panic and great fear. FDR comes to mind. Here you have a president who is trying to incite panic and great fear about specific groups of people coming from south of the border, and by definition, creating a suspect class here in the United States surrounding people of color, but especially Latinos.”
Republican Romeo Agbalog, executive director, Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government: “The president, in his address, strove to impress a message to the public creating a sense of urgency for Congress to act, which is exactly the sense in which the public wants and expects its elected leaders at all levels of government to act with on matters of public concern, whether it's immigration, infrastructure, health care, or education.
"The issue of immigration and border security was depicted from a humanitarian lens, a perspective that is much appreciated, and should move lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle to work toward a solution to address concerns regarding safety and security, though striving to end human suffering.”
Democrat Nick Nicita, former candidate for the 34th Assembly District: "While I agree that there is a need for Congress to address the flow of drugs into the country, the idea that a wall is the solution is fantasy. We already have a wall; the cartels dug tunnels. The president made clear tonight there is no 'national emergency' at the border. Let’s separate this issue from the shutdown and get the government back open."