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story.lead_photo.caption President Donald Trump speaks to the nation Tuesday night from the Oval Office of the White House, repeating his demand for more than $5 billion for a border wall to end the government shutdown.

President Donald Trump made a televised plea for border wall funding Tuesday night, seeking an edge in the shutdown battle with congressional Democrats as he declared there is "a humanitarian crisis, a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul."

Addressing the nation from the Oval Office for the first time, Trump argued for funding on security and humanitarian grounds as he sought to put pressure on newly empowered Democrats amid an extended partial government shutdown.

Trump called on Democrats to return to the White House to meet with him, saying it was "immoral" for "politicians to do nothing."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer rejected Trump's description of a crisis on the Mexican border in a televised response to the president's address.

"President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis, and must reopen the government," Pelosi said.

Standing next to Pelosi, Schumer said only Trump should be blamed for the shutdown.

"American democracy doesn't work that way," Schumer said. "We don't govern by temper tantrum. No president should pound the table and demand he gets his way or else the government shuts down, hurting millions of Americans who are treated as leverage."

Democrats had asked networks for rebuttal time Tuesday night, expressing concerns that the president would try to make a case based on falsehoods. In a joint statement Monday night, Pelosi and Schumer said Trump's address would probably be "full of malice and misinformation" and that "Democrats must immediately be given equal airtime."

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 along the U.S.-Mexico border. But critics say the security risks are overblown and his administration is at least partly to blame for the humanitarian situation.

Trump's stand on the wall received support Tuesday from members of the Arkansas congressional delegation.

"The United States is facing both a humanitarian and national security crisis on our southern border, and President Trump is responsibly pressing Democrats for resources to address border security. It is neither immoral nor wasteful -- it's a constitutional imperative," said U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, a Republican from Rogers. "Just a few days removed from taking an oath to our Constitution, I stand with the president in supporting the safety and security of our nation."

U.S. Rep. French Hill, a Republican from Little Rock, said the country faces an "unsustainable security crisis at our southwest border."

"I've visited the border numerous times and seen with my own eyes the devastating human cost of having a porous border," he said in a written statement. "Republicans are ready and willing to come to the table and negotiate in good faith with our Democratic colleagues. If we put the safety of the American people before political gamesmanship, I'm confident that we can find a practical solution that will save lives and end the partial government shutdown."

U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford said Democratic leaders in Congress are willing "to place open borders and sanctuary cities above the safety and security of the American people."

"I sincerely hope that Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer will take [Trump] up on his offer and earnestly seek a solution to address this national security imperative as quickly as possible," the Republican from Jonesboro said in a written statement.

Earlier Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman said it was necessary for Trump to make the televised address "because Congress hasn't acted."

In a written statement, the Republican from Hot Springs portrayed the southern border as an entry point for drugs and abused children.

"In 2018 alone, enough fentanyl was brought into the country to wipe out the entire U.S. population. Ten thousand children are brought across the border every year to be sold into sex trafficking. These are crises, and President Trump recognizes that. I've been to the border, and I know that we need to do things to make it more secure," he said.

Migrants, mainly from Central America and Mexico, watch President Donald Trump’s speech from a migrant shelter in the border city of Tijuana, Mexico.
Migrants, mainly from Central America and Mexico, watch President Donald Trump’s speech from a migrant shelter in the border city of Tijuana, Mexico.

In a tweet, U.S. Sen. John Boozman also emphasized the importance of securing the border.

"I share @POTUS' concern about the escalating #BorderCrisis. National security is the federal government's #1 responsibility & increasing resources for #border protection must accurately reflect this obligation. We can do this if everyone comes to the table," the Republican from Rogers tweeted.

The president and Vice President Mike Pence are expected to have lunch with Senate Republicans today at the Capitol, and Trump will meet with congressional leaders of both parties at the White House. The president is scheduled to travel to the southern border Thursday to further amplify his case for building a wall.

In his address, Trump did not offer any new ideas for resolving an impasse that's led to the shutdown, now in its 19th day. He's demanded $5.7 billion to build about 234 miles of new physical barrier along the border, as well as billions more over currently appropriated spending levels for border security and to detain migrants caught crossing illegally into the U.S.

Federal agencies continue to grapple with the effects of the shutdown. On Tuesday afternoon, the Environmental Protection Agency notified employees that they will receive half their normal salary on this week's payday. The agency had remained open during the first week of the shutdown.


Ahead of Trump's speech, pressure to end the shutdown continued to mount. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to lawmakers Tuesday, urging Congress and the Trump administration to reopen the government, throwing its support behind a deal that would combine border security measures with protections for people brought to the U.S. as children and now here illegally, as well as to those in the temporary protected status program.

"The shutdown is harming the American people, the business community, and the economy," Neil Bradley, the group's executive vice president and chief policy officer, said in the letter.

Pelosi has planned a new series of votes on a piecemeal reopening of the government, beginning with the Treasury Department and the IRS. This week's votes will put Republicans in a particularly difficult position because they will spotlight the issue of whether millions of Americans will have trouble receiving their tax refund checks.

"There is an opportunity for every American to see who wants government open, and our responsibility is not to do what the president of the United States tells us to do," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters Tuesday. "Our responsibility is to do what we think is in the best interest of the American people and the effective and efficient operations of their government."

Trump is considering invoking the National Emergencies Act of 1976 to declare an emergency, activating executive authorities, including the reprogramming of some Defense Department funds.

Trump first mentioned the possibility of declaring a national emergency Friday, telling reporters in the Rose Garden: "I may do it. We can call a national emergency and build it very quickly. It's another way of doing it."

Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, said Tuesday that he opposes using military construction money under an emergency declaration.

"In short, I'm opposed to using defense dollars for nondefense purposes," Thornberry said.

A section of border wall seen Tuesday runs toward the Pacific Ocean near Tijuana, Mexico.
A section of border wall seen Tuesday runs toward the Pacific Ocean near Tijuana, Mexico.

He added that he thinks border security is "very important." But "it is not a responsibility of the Department of Defense," he said.

One Democrat being lobbied by Trump senior adviser Jared Kushner -- Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. -- said he would not oppose a declaration of a national emergency by Trump if that means the president would allow the shuttered parts of federal government to reopen.

"If that's what it takes, if he wants to declare a national emergency, it'll be fought out in the courts," Manchin said in an interview Tuesday. "I'm OK with that, and let it be fought out in the courts."

Meanwhile, leaders of the nonpartisan National Governors Association are calling on Trump and Congress to end the shutdown.

In a letter sent late Monday, they said a "shutdown should not be a negotiating tactic as disagreements are resolved" and warned that the shutdown is affecting residents and state governments.

The letter was signed by the organization's chairman, Montana Democrat Steve Bullock, and vice chairman, Maryland Republican Larry Hogan.

While the letter doesn't bear all their signatures, the organization represents some of the most prominent politicians in the nation from both major parties. Governors do not have a direct role in striking a federal budget deal.

In the letter, the governors don't take a stance on whether a wall should be built on the border with Mexico. Instead, it argues that a shutdown isn't an appropriate way to handle policy disputes.

"Governors stand united in telling the federal government to open the doors of currently shuttered agencies while you find a long-term, bipartisan compromise on the issues that currently divide Washington," the letter says.

The organization says governors are seeing a toll from the shutdown -- and that it could get worse.

About 800,000 federal employees are furloughed or working without pay, leading to financial struggles for them and "potentially siphoning dollars from state economies."

The governors also warn that federal court operations could be curtailed by next week and that shorelines face a safety risk because of reduced Coast Guard capabilities.

Information for this article was contributed by Felicia Sonmez, John Wagner, Josh Dawsey, Mike DeBonis, Robert Costa, Juliet Eilperin, Seung Min Kim, Philip Rucker and Erica Werner of The Washington Post; by Catherine Lucey, Jill Colvin, Lisa Mascaro and Geoff Mulvihill of The Associated Press; by Jennifer Epstein and Jennifer Jacobs of Bloomberg News; and by Frank E. Lockwood of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

A Section on 01/09/2019

Print Headline: Trump takes wall-funds plea public, says it's ‘immoral’ to not solve border crisis


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  • Waitjustaminute
    January 9, 2019 at 6:15 a.m.

    A look at the final paragraph tells you everything you need to know about how this article is presented: nine writers from the Washington Post, two from Bloomberg, four from the AP, and one from the ADG to insert the paragraphs from the Arkansas delegation.
    Not counting the local angle paragraphs, there are 32 from the national sources, and in an article of that length supposedly covering Trump's 'plea to the public,' only 19 words of the speech gets quoted. The direct quotes from Schumer's and Pelosi's response gets three times that amount of direct word quotes.
    I didn't watch the speech and wanted to read what he had to say. I guess I'll have to look elsewhere.

  • RBear
    January 9, 2019 at 6:32 a.m.

    Last night's presidential address was pretty much a flop in terms of making a compelling case for funding HIS wall. It's not a wall the majority of the American public supports, but it is more an ego thing with Trump who we already know has a fragile ego. Putting aside how idiotic he looked TRYING to read the teleprompter, Trump lied about many things when making the case and several Republican lawmakers from Arkansas echoed those lies.
    Based on the fact the lies were consistent across the board with Republicans from Pence down to Westerman, you can tell someone in the WH either did a really bad job pulling the talking points together or continued to play to the issue illiterate Trump base. The biggest Pinocchio of the night was the statement about 4,000 terrorists being stopped at the border. While they are stopped at a border, those borders are not the ones being debated with regards to the wall. They are the Canadian border and our airports. During fiscal year 2018, only SIX terrorists were stopped at the southern border.
    Then there's the lies about the need for a wall to halt the flow of drugs. This has been refuted MANY times, but Trump and Republicans keep pushing it trying to piggy back on the nation's opioid crisis. DEA and CBP facts show that that the vast majority of drugs are coming in through legal points of entry where barriers and gates already exist. So, building a wall will do nothing to curb this flow contrary to Trump's claim.
    Following that are the claims about criminals. What we find with regards to criminals being arrested is that the number is inflated since DHS considers anyone crossing the border a criminal. The actual number of criminals arrested at the border has dropped from 12,842 in 2016 to 6,259 in 2018TD. Of that number in 2018, 4,699 were arrested for DUI or illegal entry, reentry. Only 3 were arrested for committing a crime of homicide manslaughter. (Source: CBP)
    In other words, Trump's attempt to make a case for the border was full of lies and deceit, something Democrats called out in their response. If Trump and right wingers truly want to gain the confidence of the American public on this, it's time to start telling the truth on the issues.

  • RBear
    January 9, 2019 at 6:32 a.m.

    Now, with regards to the Democrats response the first thing I have to say is get someone other than Gomez and Morticia Addams, I mean Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, to make the case. If anyone in Congress can sound like fingernails being dragged across a chalkboard, it's Nancy Pelosi. Great leadership skills, but lousy at public speaking. It demonstrates that it's time to find new leaders to put forth and not some of the firebrands who made it to Congress by piddling on the machine.
    That being said, Democrats showed they are more concerned with actually sitting down to discuss this issue and get government open rather than making this all about Trump's ego. Bills have been put forth, including a DHS funding bill that Trump had agreed to sign before talk radio and the Freedom Caucus derailed it. In other words, for all the claims of Democrats supporting a wall there's this issue of Trump actually supporting funding without the wall before the nutcases got into his head.
    When Trump says this can be solved in 45 minutes, what he really means is that Democrats can agree to his hostage terms in 45 minutes. But Trump realizes he's losing support by the American public and the threat of calling a national emergency would be his attempt to move on this before he loses support on everything else. However, if he did so it would further erode public support, especially from Republicans in Congress as evidenced by the comment of the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee.

  • WGT
    January 9, 2019 at 6:57 a.m.

    This “speech” is another chalk up gaslight job by this mendacious boor. This administration is an example how NOT to effect change. The sad reality is, the focus, the direction, conservatives have chosen is conceited vanity, gross egoism, and blatant grandiosity by creating a monster that is not going to “get” us. If this pathetic human in the Office had just kept to his own ways, quietly wrestling the madness he suffers without including the nation and the world, both would be further along solving problems important rather than dealing with a madman. You know I’m right.

  • Skeptic1
    January 9, 2019 at 7:06 a.m.

    The contrast between Trumps measured and somber speech versus Nancy and Chuck's wooden and snarky speech of insults could not have been more stark. This new socialist party has only one agenda, destroy Trump and the country will reject them. Winning local elections in a midterm election is a far cry from a national election, there is a reason Trump won and we are seeing it with the Dems anti-America agenda. Schumer voted 8 times to fund a wall Nancy did twice, do they think the country is so stupid they don't see that?

    January 9, 2019 at 7:08 a.m.

    OH! MOMMY.OH!MOMMY The sky is falling.I will use my scaring tactic along with my lying again.Where are these 10 terrorist that the border patrol arrested being held? What? There were NO terrorist.Could this be another of Trumps lies to persuade the scared frail Americans .Just to get his way? HE has shut down the government now for 18 days with total disregard of the "AMERICANS LIVES" affected.This child that got the electoral college,but NOT the popular vote. Trump is the number one threat to this country.Not the falsified numbers,or reports perpetrated by this Trump committee of his FAKE NEWS.I can only wish.This man suffers on his death bed slowly,and painfully.The problem is there are still a few TRUMP-PETS.That believe his LIES,LIES,and more LIES.

  • PopMom
    January 9, 2019 at 7:15 a.m.

    By now, federal workers are getting pretty steamed at Trump for not getting their paychecks. Trump is just worried that Mueller found out that Manafort passed internal polling data from the Trump campaign to the Russians. Oh boy!

  • RBear
    January 9, 2019 at 7:32 a.m.

    You know PM, I was thinking today that while this is a great distraction for the country regarding the Mueller investigation it doesn't really matter because Mueller is going to keep moving forward regardless of the clown show in the WH. The government will reopen and we will get back to business and that's when the Mueller report will show up. So if Trump thinks the shutdown will take some heat off, it's like a crook trying to run out the clock on prosecutors who have all the time in the world.

  • 23cal
    January 9, 2019 at 7:39 a.m.

    Libertas Septic continues to tell the same lie even after being repeatedly informed that it is a lie.
    "Schumer voted 8 times to fund a wall Nancy did twice, do they think the country is so stupid they don't see that?"
    Schumer and Pelosi have voted for fences in limited areas, not an entire border wall as demanded by Trump. The two are not the same at all.
    We know they are not the same at all because Trump himself declared it so. “Jeb Bush just talked about my border proposal to build a ‘fence'. It’s not a fence, Jeb, it’s a WALL, and there’s a BIG difference!” Trump, 2016

  • 23cal
    January 9, 2019 at 7:42 a.m.

    Customs and Border Patrol released official data that proves Trump is lying about the number of suspected terrorists stopped at the southern border. He claims almost 4000; the actual total was 6. And those are just people whose names are on a watch list, or who have names that match someone on a watch list. Not a single person has actually been charged. But here's the real punchline: Twice as many were stopped at the Canadian border than at the Mexican border, and yet Trump isn't demanding a wall on that border. Gee, what could the difference be? I mean, I have a theory, but I can't prove it's white. RIGHT. Sorry, I meant right, not white.