Trump pleads on TV for wall money; Dems say he 'stokes fear'

President Donald Trump speaks from the Oval Office of the White House as he gives a prime-time address about border security Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2018, in Washington. (Carlos Barria/Pool Photo via AP)

WASHINGTON — In a somber televised plea, President Donald Trump urged congressional Democrats to fund his long-promised border wall Tuesday night, blaming illegal immigration for the scourge of drugs and violence in the U.S. and framing the debate over the partial government shutdown in stark terms.

"This is a choice between right and wrong," he declared.

Democrats in response accused Trump appealing to "fear, not facts" and manufacturing a border crisis for political gain.

Addressing the nation from the Oval Office for the first time, Trump argued for spending some $5.7 billion for a border wall on both security and humanitarian grounds as he sought to put pressure on newly empowered Democrats amid the extended shutdown.

Trump, who will visit the Mexican border in person on Thursday, invited the Democrats to return to the White House to meet with him on Wednesday, saying it was "immoral" for "politicians to do nothing." Previous meetings have led to no agreement as Trump insists on the wall that was his signature promise in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Responding in their own televised remarks, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer accused Trump of misrepresenting the situation on the border as they urged him to reopen closed government departments and turn loose paychecks for hundreds of thousands of workers.

Negotiations on wall funding could proceed in the meantime, they said.

Schumer said Trump "just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear and divert attention from the turmoil in his administration."

Overall, Trump largely restated his case for the wall without offering concessions or new ideas on how to resolve the standoff that has kept large swaths of the government closed for the past 18 days. Speaking in solemn tones from behind the Resolute Desk, he painted a dire picture of killings and drug deaths he argues come from unchecked illegal immigration.

Trump ticked off a string of statistics and claims to make his case that there is a crisis at the border, but a number of his statements were misleading, such as saying the new trade deal with Mexico would pay for the wall, or suggesting through gruesome examples that immigrants are more likely to commit crime.

Shifting between empathetic appeals and the dark immigration rhetoric that was a trademark of his presidential campaign, Trump asked: "How much more American blood must we shed before Congress does its job?"

Trump, who has long railed against illegal immigration at the border, has recently seized on humanitarian concerns to argue there is a broader crisis that can only be solved with a wall. But critics say the security risks are overblown and the administration is at least partly to blame for the humanitarian situation.

Trump used emotional language, referring to Americans who were killed by people in the country illegally, saying: "I've met with dozens of families whose loved ones were stolen by illegal immigration. I've held the hands of the weeping mothers and embraced the grief-stricken fathers. So sad. So terrible."

The president often highlights such incidents, though studies over several years have found immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than people born in the United States.

Trump has been discussing the idea of declaring a national emergency to allow him to move forward with the wall without getting congressional approval for the billions he's requested. But he did not mention that Tuesday night.

With his use of a formal White House speech instead of his favored Twitter blasts, Trump embraced the ceremonial trappings of his office as he tries to exit a political quagmire of his own making. For weeks he has dug in on a signature campaign promise to his base voters, the pledge to build an impregnable "beautiful" wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The partial government shutdown reached its 18th day, making the closure the second-longest in history. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers are going without pay, and government disruptions are hitting home with everyday Americans.

(19) comments

She Dee

Well, let's see...He makes promises he cannot keep. He closes borders at will. He tweets stupid stuff. He says stupid stuff. He looks like an idiot, sounds like an idiot & now expects all of the American People to love him because he's MAGA. If the depression era was great....yep, he's bringing that back again. Congratulations Mr Trump, for bringing us all down to your level. End this Now. Pay people so they won't have to suffer more abuse from you. And for God's sake (yes I said God), pray that you have the time to make your wrongs right & restore the US to a place of love instead of hate.

Boris25

What an ignorant post, to Liberals like you the facts don't matter only your hate for the President

She Dee

Boris25- I don't hate the President. I just wish we had one. That said, how ignorant is it when most Republicans & Democrats who own local businesses are now having to suffer financial loss from not having their customer base visit them on a daily basis to buy the necessities of life. This loss of revenue will also alter the sales tax. If homes go into foreclosure, property taxes will suffer. Simply put...TRUMP IS MANIPULATING THE MARKETPLACE. WAKE UP!

REMUDA

The "Wall" is LAW (2006). This headline speaks volumes about the BAKO.com bias. The fencing is about National Security not "MONEY" . . . !
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"Stokes Fear" . . . !? Ask MS-13 . . . ! Ask Officer Singh's wife . . .!
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The (D) Libs will lose this one as we progress to the "Black Robes" after Homeland Security continues building that "Fence" (first done 1911). All Gov workers will get back pay as usual and are not suffering (Call the White House and see).

Boris25

Gee, why do we need a wall to keep out the illegal foreign invaders? Maybe, just maybe because of the financial drain the illegals place on the American Taxpayer. Forget about the false narrative of “illegals contribute more to society than they take from it”. Baloney! In a 2017 Government Report, “the Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on United States Taxpayer” it was found the totals cost of illegal immigration was $135 billion a year, while undocumented immigrants paid only $19 billion a year in taxes. That leaves a net cost to local, state and federal governments of $116 billion a year. Those are the facts, do with them what you wish!

TriggerTheSnowflakes

Trump just need to go down to Mexico and pick up that novelty check for the wall. Right? Right? Wait, what? So Mexico isn't going to pay for the wall? Shocking.

Django

Are undocumented immigrants eligible for federal public benefit programs?

Generally no. Undocumented immigrants, including DACA holders, are ineligible to receive most federal public benefits, including means-tested benefits such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, sometimes referred to as food stamps), regular Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Undocumented immigrants are ineligible for health care subsidies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and are prohibited from purchasing unsubsidized health coverage on ACA exchanges.

Undocumented immigrants may be eligible for a handful of benefits that are deemed necessary to protect life or guarantee safety in dire situations, such as emergency Medicaid, access to treatment in hospital emergency rooms, or access to healthcare and nutrition programs under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC

ISpy

by 'benefits,' I meant 'funding'..so, it includes areas such as education, medical services, and incarceration.

ISpy

I don't understand how some folks are against 'tax payer money' funding the wall, but are not reluctant to have 'tax payer money' go toward funding those who come here illegally and receive public benefits.

Django

A simple Google search gives information you are lacking.

Dog

Don't let facts get in the way of their agenda.

REMUDA

The fencing built under the 2006 act was not the first border fencing in the United States. The U.S. Border Patrol first began to erect physical barriers in its San Diego sector in 1990. Fourteen miles of fencing were erected along the border of San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico.
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The first fence was built in 1911 to stop a cattle tick that was crossing the border from Mexico int the US. It began as an Environmental Control Project:
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https://www.c-span.org/video/?453206-5/us-mexico-border-wall

Jim

I’ve seen some bad Presidents in my lifetime, Nixon, Carter come to mind. Over and over President Trump said Mexico was going to pay for the wall. Now the President expects tax payers to pay for his pipe dream? He is dislusional and desperate. Donald Trump, another one term wonder.

Dog

Who paid for the billions Obama gave to Iran? Hu

dcg

Why not just work towards decreasing the incentives for coming to America? That seems to be the first step to me but who am I? Why do we have to just jump to the big picture? Why not start at the micro-level and end up at the macro-level if need be? And if you want to make the big jump then please show me EXACTLY how this wall is going to "fix" the problem? I think we as citizens need to hear more than "facts" shaded by hyperbole and rhetoric to be moved by this 5.7 billion dollar idea is really going to work. Seems like a super poor excuse to keep the government shut down to me. Open it back up, take the hit to your ego, and then figure out the "crisis" the right way.

Wanda Jean Lord

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7NjNL4Nsa4Q

BanditIvy

The only reason Libtards are against the wall is that they see the illegal criminals as future Democrat voters. If they were going to be Republican voters the wall would already have been built.

Django

Shameless, hateful,uninformed.

Dog

Yep

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