It was a stunt… it was just a laundry list of his same complaints (and lies), blaming Democrats for the shutdown.
The talk of “emergency powers” was apparently a trial balloon for an action that may still come but could be saved for that wag-the-dog moment this year or next.
This Oval Office address was a campaign (fundraising) speech for which the major networks gave away entertainment programming time. #WhereAreThePesos
Trump’s justification for increased border security include:
Criminal “illegal aliens”
Violence from undocumented immigrants who entered illegally
- While Trump spoke of a “crisis” at the border, he did not call it an “emergency” or come anywhere close to suggesting that he’ll attempt to test the limits of presidential power to declare a national emergency to attempt to build a border wall without congressional support.
- Trump ends his speech with no concessions. Restated positions. Democrats aren’t hearing anything new.
- Quite the grisly list Trump is describing of victims of illegal immigrants. He cites the “American blood” being shed, reminiscent of the “American carnage” in his inaugural address.
- Trump says wealthy politicians build walls to protect people inside their estates. Therefore walls aren’t immoral.
- Trump first ran through the less controversial facets of border security for which the administration is asking for funding before turning to the $5.7 billion the administration says it now wants for a steel barrier. He makes it sound like that $5.7 billion is for the whole wall, but it’s actually just for a few hundred miles of the 2,000-mile border.
- Trump says the wall would pay for itself, because the country spends more on combating illegal drugs than the $5.7 billion request for the wall.
- Trump claims one in three women are sexually assaulted in the trek to the U.S. over the border.
- It’s a “humanitarian crisis,” he tells the nation
- Something that at least resembled news in President Trump’s speech was flatly saying that the wall will now be a steel barrier. Yet he said that was “at the request” of Democrats. When did they actually request a steel barrier? They continue to flatly say they won’t pay for a border structure.
And Daniel Dale covers the misstatements, although that heroin comment was pretty weird.
This was weird … https://t.co/9fHmEEDbTL
— digby (@digby56) January 9, 2019
- Trump has never personally presented detailed data about how many children are being fraudulently used for border-crossing purposes, merely implying it’s common. The evidence suggests it’s a small minority of the families who cross.
- Democrats have not made a “request” for a steel barrier, as far as anyone knows. They don’t want any of this.
- The new trade deal hasn’t been ratified by Congress. Even if it is, eventually, possible benefits to U.S. businesses are not a funding stream that pays for an infrastructure project.
- Democrats have repeatedly shown they’re willing to fund various border security measures, just not A Wall.
- Trump is implicitly referring to the Obamas again. They have some fencing at their house, but it is not surrounded by a giant wall. (It is obviously protected by the Secret Service as well.)
- This is Trump’s go-to Big Speech thing: graphic descriptions of murders committed by illegal immigrants. We saw it in his RNC acceptance speech, among other places.
Seeking to shift the public conversation, Trump gave a prime-time televised speech on the wall on Tuesday night. The speech, Trump’s first formal Oval Office address, was intended to ratchet up the pressure on Democratic leaders House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, from whom he is seeking a wall commitment of $5.7 billion (U.S.).
But Trump mostly stuck to the same rhetoric that hasn’t worked for him to date — except, this time, he did his demonizing of unauthorized immigrants in a sombre tone rather than the shouts of his rally speeches. Graphically describing several murders, he said Democrats had a moral duty to fund a “barrier” he insisted would solve “a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul.”
“For those who refuse to compromise in the name of in the name of border security, I would ask: imagine if it was your child, your husband or your wife whose life was so cruelly shattered and totally broken,” he said.
Pelosi and Schumer have offered joint statements at almost every juncture in this debate. They're not letting any daylight between their positions – @annaedge4 https://t.co/G1baGzvSD2 pic.twitter.com/UcNFIu08HQ
— Bloomberg Politics (@bpolitics) January 9, 2019
Speaker Pelosi: “President Trump must not continue to hold the American people hostage”
Schumer also criticizes Trump’s decision to use an Oval Office address to draw attention to the situation at the border, arguing that “most presidents have used Oval Office addresses for noble purposes” while “this president just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear, and divert attention from the turmoil in his administration.”
Politicians of all stripes have long used vital spending bills as vehicles for their pet projects. Trump’s $5.7 billion wall is just a rather large pet project
And the winner is… OLD TRAFFIC CONE! pic.twitter.com/833U97r1H7
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) January 9, 2019
The New York Times sent correspondents to Mexico and to the 4 states along the border and found few who shared President Trump’s sense of alarm. “This whole crisis thing is Trump’s creation," one man said. "Don’t let him fool you.” https://t.co/j7swwtnBiq
— NYT National News (@NYTNational) January 9, 2019