Trump to press USA border 'crisis' in televised address

Calvin Saunders
January 9, 2019

President Donald Trump will deliver his first Oval Office address on Tuesday night at 9 PM ET in order to promote his US-Mexico border wall.

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told CNN he had "no idea" which past presidents told Trump they supported the wall.

Trump said in a tweet that he would make a speech on border security and humanitarian issues on the border Tuesday night, but did not provide more details.

The presidential speech and visit come amid the continuing partial government shutdown and Trump's insistence that any funding bill to reopen federal agencies include $5.7 billion for his border wall.

President Trump claimed last week that "some" former presidents privately confided to him that they support his mission to build a border wall.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responded to the news about Trump's speech by demanding that Democratic Party leaders be given an equal amount of time to respond to what he says.

Pence said the president has invited Democratic leadership to the White House to give their response to the president's proposal.

Because of it, the government has been partially shut down since December 22 and hundreds of thousands of federal workers have either been furloughed or are working without pay.

The White House moved to pre-empt the Democrats, telling reporters Monday that tax refunds would be paid despite the shutdown.

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The president also suggested that he would declare a national emergency so as to use the money from the Department of Defense to build the wall, thus bypassing the Congress. Democrats said he might face legal challenges if doing so.

"Democrats want to secure the border?" Maryland Democrat Steny Hoyer says Tuesday that "in another context, we would call that an act of kidnapping or terrorism".

Trump said Sunday that he understood the predicament facing federal workers who are not receiving their paychecks.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats have refused to include funding for a wall in spending bills for about one-quarter of the USA government.

The president will continue pressing his case with a trip to the US southern border on Thursday.

But he says Trump isn't budging on his demand for billions for his border wall.

Even as Pence tries to spearhead a compromise with Democrats, holding numerous congressional meetings over the weekend, Trump is giving him "very little room to negotiate", The Atlantic reports.

Leaders of the nonpartisan National Governors Association made public a letter Tuesday sent to Trump and congressional leaders a day earlier, calling on them to reopen the government, saying "shutdown should not be a negotiating tactic as disagreements are resolved".

His administration and Congress are deadlocked on funding the barrier.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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