President Donald Trump said nothing inherently new during his immigration address from the Oval Office on Tuesday night, using the usual fear-mongering as he spoke of the “growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.”
In his speech, Trump cited (as he often has in the past) the influx of drugs, sex crimes, and violence as the reasons why the border wall is necessary, pointing the finger at undocumented immigrants, all while trying to solicit the support of people of color (specifically African Americans and Hispanic Americans) who he claimed are the “hardest hit” by “uncontrolled, illegal migration.”
“This is a humanitarian crisis — a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul,” he added. “This is the cycle of human suffering that I am determined to end. My administration has presented Congress with a detailed proposal to secure the border and stop the criminal gangs, drug smugglers, and human traffickers. It’s a tremendous problem. ”
Of course, this was all a lead up to the idea of his $5.7 billion border wall, which he deemed “absolutely critical to border security. And while he was at it, he blamed Democrats for the partial government shut down, because of their refusal to “fund border security.”
“Democrats in Congress have refused to acknowledge the crisis. And they have refused to provide our brave border agents with the tools they desperately need to protect our families and our nation. The federal government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only: because Democrats will not fund border security,” Trump said, claiming that the “situation” could be resolved in a “45-minute meeting.” ” My administration is doing everything in our power to help those impacted by the situation. But the only solution is for Democrats to pass a spending bill that defends our borders and re-opens the government.”
The speech has kept reporters busy as they fact check Trump, who is known to mislead and lie.
As the good folks over at The New York Times noted, some of the points Trump articulated in his speech were flat out false.
His claim that Democrats refuse to fund border security? False. As the Times notes, Democrats have offered $1.3 billion in funding for other border security measures besides his delusional wall, including surveillance and fortified fencing, but that is not good enough for Trump.
Trump also claimed that the wall would be paid for, indirectly by “the great new trade deal” with Mexico. Again, false.
The Times reports:
First, the revised North American Free Trade Agreement, known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, has yet to pass in Congress. Any economic benefits from the agreement, if it passes, will most likely come in the form of lower tariffs for American companies or higher wages for American workers.
The Times also found several of his other remarks, misleading.
Following Trump’s remarks, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) swiftly rebutted, with Pelosi claiming “much of what we have heard from President Trump throughout this senseless shutdown has been full of misinformation and even malice.”
“The President has chosen fear,” Pelosi added. “On the very first day of this Congress, House Democrats passed Senate Republican legislation to re-open government and fund smart, effective border security solutions. But the President is rejecting these bipartisan bills which would re-open the government, over his obsession with forcing American taxpayers to waste billions of dollars on an expensive and ineffective wall, a wall he always promised Mexico would pay for.”
” President Trump has chosen to hold hostage critical services for the health, safety and well-being of the American people and withhold the paychecks of 800,000 innocent workers across the nation – many of them veterans,” she added. “He promised to keep government shutdown for ‘months or years’ – no matter whom it hurts. That’s just plain wrong.”
The House Speaker and Schumer both emphasized the need for stronger security through other means.
Schumer challenged Trump to re-open the government and ” separate the shutdown from the arguments over border security.”
“There is bipartisan legislation – supported by Democrats and Republicans – to re-open government while allowing debate over border security to continue,” he added. “Most presidents have used Oval Office addresses for noble purposes. 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.”