Watch President Trump Addresses Nation’s Border Security (& Dems Respond) [VIDEO]

Watch President Trump Addresses Nation’s Border Security (& Dems Respond) [VIDEO]

With furloughed federal workers struggling to pay their bills and mortgages as the partial government shutdown started before the holidays is about to enter its 18th day – the second-longest on record – many watched with anxious anticipation as President Trump took to the resolute desk inside the Oval Office – after a trip to the Southern border – where he gave a major policy speech about his plans for border security and his promised wall.

Trump started his speech by explaining why illegal immigration and lax border security harm all Americans. Illegal immigrants soak up public resources and commit violent crimes while lax border security helps fuel the deadly drug crisis in the US. Trump labeled it a “deadly humanitarian crisis – a crisis of the heart and crisis of the soul.”

“This barrier is absolutely critical to border security,” Trump said in his first address from the Oval Office. “This is just common sense.”

“This is a choice between right and wrong, between justice and injustice.”

The address was described by one pundit as a “more formalized stump speech” from what he used during the campaign. The takeaway: Once again, the much-hyped speech offered no new information about the administration’s plans to fund the border wall. It was also notably measured.

But Americans aren’t the only ones who struggle with the destruction and harm from our lax border. Young immigrant children who are exploited by coyotes who force them into sexual trafficking and use them for other devious ends.

Secure the border and stop drug smugglers and human traffickers. He said the White House’s proposal was developed by border agents in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security – the proposal includes cutting edge technology for detecting drugs and weapons, more agents, immigration judges and bed space to process “the surge in illegal immigration fueled by our very strong economy.”

“Our southern border is a pipeline for illegal drugs…including meth heroine cocaine and fentanyl…more Americans will die from drugs this year than were killed during the Vietnam war.”

The plan also includes resources for medical supplies, presumably to prevent the deaths to like those of two young children over the past month.

Referring to his earlier offer of a “compromise,” Trump said that “at the request of the Democrats” (though there is no record of them ever making such a request) he had offered to build a wall of steel slats instead of a concrete barrier.

The wall, Trump said, would pay for itself every year. The wall will also be paid for indirectly by the “great new trade deal” we have made with Mexico.

Trump also pointed out that Democrats like Chuck Schumer supported a wall in the past.

He also squarely pinned the blame for the shutdown on Democrats (despite polls showing that a majority of Americans blame Trump).

The federal government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only – because Democrats will not fund border security.”

Subtly retreading his criticism of the Obamas and the wall they recently built around their house, Trump pointed out that if barriers like the one Trump is proposing are immoral, then why do wealthy people and politicians build walls around their homes?

Trump then highlighted the killing of a border officer who was killed on the day after Christmas by an illegal alien near the border. And in California, an Air Force veteran was beaten to death by an illegal alien with a long criminal history. In Maryland, MS-13 gang members who arrived in the US as unaccompanied minors were arrested for murder.

“How much more American blood must we shed before Congress does its job?”

He ended his speech by urging every citizen to call their representatives and urge them to vote to secure the border.

The upshot from all this: Trump stopped short of declaring a national emergency to circumvent Congress and start construction on the wall…sparing his administration from what would have likely been a long-running and tedious legal battle.

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Update 1: In the Democratic rebuttal, Nancy Pelosi accused the president of spreading “misinformation and malice.”

“The fact is, Trump has chosen to hold hostage critical services from the American people…and withhold the paychecks from federal workers…many of them veterans.”

When his turn came, Schumer argued that “we don’t govern by temper tantrum…no person should pound the table and demand he gets his way or else the government shuts down.”

“Throughout his presidency…Trump has appealed to fear not facts. Republicans and Democrats both want stronger border security…but we strongly disagree about how we do it.”

The solution? “Separate the shutdown from arguments about border security.”

In other words, pass a funding bill…then start negotiations on a border security bill…basically a return to the status quo.

Schumer then accused Trump of “using the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis.”

We can secure our border without an ineffective, expensive wall. We can welcome immigrants and refugees without compromising border security.”

“Our suggestion is a simple one: Mr. President, reopen the government and we can work to resolve our differences on border security…but end this shutdown now.”

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Update 2: Minutes after the Democrats finished their rebuttal, Mitch McConnell released a statement of support for the president where he affirmed that Trump’s proposal – developed with input from border patrol agents – “suits the reality on the ground.”

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