President Trump Delivers First Primetime Address
By Heather Ham-Warren | January 11, 2019
On Tuesday, President Trump delivered his first prime-time address from the Oval Office to discuss immigration policy and the ongoing shutdown.
In December, Congress failed to pass the necessary spending legislation resulting in a partial government shutdown. Upon returning after the holidays, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) quickly moved to pass a package of six spending bills to reopen almost all of the federal agencies, as well as a continuing resolution (CR) that would fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through Feb. 8. The CR would have provided only $1.3 billion for border security and no additional funds for President Trump’s border wall.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he would not take up the lower chamber’s legislation, calling it “political theater.” Vice President Mike Pence also dismissed Pelosi’s actions, maintaining that any legislation that does not include border wall funding is a non-starter.
One week later, President Trump delivered an address to the nation holding firm in his refusal to sign any legislation that does not fully fund his wall. During the address, the president highlighted the various dangers which could be mitigated with the help of a physical barrier. He touched on the large influx of illegal drugs including meth, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl. Stating that, “every week 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone, 90 percent of which floods across from our southern border. More Americans will die from drugs this year than were killed in the entire Vietnam War.”
He touched on the alarming number of criminal aliens that have crossed in recent year saying that in the last two years Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “officers made 266,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records including those charged or convicted of 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 violent killings.” Additionally, he also emphasized that this large migration has triggered a humanitarian crisis for international children; and that last month alone 20,000 migrant children were brought to the United States illegally.
Following the president’s address, Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) delivered their response to the president’s address. During their speech, the Democratic Party leaders maintained continued to push to reopen the government now and negotiate border security later. Unfortunately, if history is any indication, postponing the DHS fight will not result in increased funding for border security.
While party leaders did meet with President Trump again on Wednesday afternoon, no progress appears to have been made; and the shutdown is expected to continue for some time.