President Donald Trump stopped short on Tuesday of declaring a that a national emergency exists on America’s southern border, but reiterated his demand that congressional Democrats fund a border wall that he has promised for nearly four years.
But he played the shame card with a vengeance, blaming them for playing politics with innocent American lives.
‘How much more American blood must we shed before Congress does its job?’ Trump asked in a 9-minute speech from the Oval Office.
Citing a string of murders committed by illegal immigrants who have been previously deported form the United States, he demanded of lawmakers: ‘For those who refuse to compromise 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 shattreed and totally broken.’
‘To every member of Congress: Pass a bill that ends this crisie.’
President Donald Trump spoke for nine minnutes from the Oval Office of the White House on Tuesday, shaming congressional Democrats as he blamed them for bloodshed caused by illegal immigrants
Trump is demanding $5.6 billion in new congressional spending for his long-promised border wall
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (right) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer delivered the Democrats’ response after Trump spoke, framing the conflict as Trump’s personal, uninformed crusade as they insisted they won’t bend and agree to his terms
Trump implored Americans to call their members of Congress ‘and tell them to finally, after all of these decades, secure our border. This is a choice between right and wrong, justice and injustice.’
The president has requested $5.6 billion in new funding to continue the wall’s construction. He is, for now, passing up the option to declare an emergency and spend existing Defense Department dollars to build it without Congress.
Instead he returned to his previous lines of argument, claiming a border security crisis has resulted in a flood of narcotics and human trafficking, and endangering Americans’ lives.
Responding on Capitol Hill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer framed the conflict as Trump’s personal, uninformed crusade as they insisted they won’t bend and agree to his terms.
‘Sadly, much of what we have heard from President Trump throughout this senseless shutdown has been full of misinformation and even malice,’ they said.
‘The president has chosen fear.’
There have been multiple times when presidents have declared emergenices under the National Emergencies Act, although in recent years it was to impose sanctions on individuals or regimes.
Democrats have already signaled there would be a court battle if the president tried the gambit.
And on Tuesday Rep. Mac Thornberry of Georgia, the top Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, came out against the idea of reprogramming Pentagon funds to build the wall, saying he was ‘opposed to using defense dollars for non-defense purposes.’
Even if Trump tried to declare an emergency to build the wall, Congress could try to claw the money back through rescissions or banning the use of funds for certain purposes.
With no breakthrough in sight, Trump will argue his case to the nation Tuesday night that a ‘crisis’ at the U.S.-Mexico border requires the long and invulnerable wall he’s demanding before ending the partial government shutdown
TIJUANA, MEXICO – JANUARY 08: Birds sit on the U.S.-Mexico border barrier at the Pacific Ocean on January 8, 2019 in Tijuana, Mexico. President Donald Trump, who is planning on visiting the border on Thursday, is considering declaring a national emergency if Democrats do not approve of 5.7 billion dollars in funding to build a border wall
Congressional Democrats bashed Trump in advance of his speech during an appearance at Newark airport.
Democratic New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey called it an effort to ‘extort funds’ for an ‘unnecessary and nonsensical border wall.’
And Democratic New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez said Trump is on an ‘egotistical quest.’
Menendez said Trump’s speech should carry a warning that ‘the comments you are about to hear are not based on fact and are likely to include misinformation, blatant lies and fear-mongering,’ Fox News reported.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has previously told Democrats for Trump the wall is connected to his ‘manhood.’
The White House has asked network executives for about eight minutes of time for his speech, which the major TV and cable networks have agreed to carry.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (left) and top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer (right) called on TV networks to give Democrats a chance to respond to President Donald Trump on Tuesday evening, and then declared they would do the job themselves after the broadcasters relented
A woman walks a dog next to the U.S.-Mexico border barrier along the Pacific Ocean on January 8, 2019 in Tijuana, Mexico. President Donald Trump, who is planning on visiting the border on Thursday, is considering declaring a national emergency if Democrats do not approve of 5.7 billion dollars in funding to build a border wall
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he returns from Camp David to the White House in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2019
Democrats were able to demand the ability to respond, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer are scheduled to do so, presenting a united front despite efforts by Trump to put a wedge between them – but passing on the chance to put forward a Democratic rising star.
Spokespersons for CNN, NBC, CBS, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network and the Fox network of television affiliates confirmed Monday that they have committed to the politically fraught gesture, only the second of its kind for a modern-era presidential speech other than an address to a joint session of Congress.
TV networks allowed Republicans to respond in 2011 to President Barack Obama’s speech about the merits of raising the federal debt limit. Then-House speaker John Boehner delivered that counterpoint.
‘There is a humanitarian and national security crisis,’ Vice President Mike Pence told reporters Monday amid concerns Trump would declare a national emergency that would empower him to construct the $5.6 billion border wall without congressional approval. Pence said the White House counsel’s office is looking at the idea.
Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the House Democrats’ majority leader, said Tuesday morning that he believes Trump lacks the legal authority to declare a national emergency as a mechanism for building his border wall by sidestepping the congressional purse-strings.
‘The president appears to believe that he can do individually that which previous presidents and the Constitution require be done by the Congress of the United States,’ Hoyer told reporters. ‘I don’t think the president has that authority.’
Trump’s Oval Office speech – his first as president – will be followed by his visit Thursday to the southern border to highlight his demand for a barrier.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted that he will use the visit to ‘meet with those on the front lines of the national security and humanitarian crisis’.