Published: Wed, January 09, 2019
Arts&Culture | By Matthew Castillo

Trump seeks an edge in shutdown fight with TV address

Trump seeks an edge in shutdown fight with TV address

US President Donald Trump is scheduled to address Americans on the issue of his proposed border wall + on Tuesday night (Wednesday morning IST), amid fears he might go down the slippery slope of declaring a national emergency to draft the US military and its budget for the project.

Watch Trump's speech here at 9 p.m. ET.

All major US television networks agreed to broadcast Trump's speech, prompting the Democrats to seek equal air time. (According to the Toronto Star, the US president had made almost 4,000 false claims as of December 5 for an average of 5.8 per day.) Recently, the White House has been trying to justify funding a wall on the notion that there is a new crisis at the southern border, when in fact the number of people trying to cross the border has been in decline for nearly two decades.

Another 32 percent blame congressional Democrats for the shutdown and 7 percent blame congressional Republicans, according to the poll. "Tuesday night at 9pm Eastern", Trump tweeted on Monday, even as critics of the wall maintained there was no crisis, and fencing the border is a Trump obsession aimed at riling up his anti-immigration base. The White House is reportedly asking networks to cover a speech by Trump following the border visit.

President Donald Trump thought other presidents would back him over the wall.

In recent days, Trump, who has long railed against illegal immigration at the border, has also seized on humanitarian concerns to argue there is a broader crisis that can only be solved with a wall. There were almost 400,000 apprehensions at the border in the 2018 fiscal year, well down from the early 2000s when arrests regularly topped one million annually.

In rejecting Trump's demands, Democrats also point to the Trump administration's controversial handling of families and other migrants from Central America at the border.

The paper reported it was unlikely Trump would declare a national emergency, citing sources familiar with Trump's planned remarks - although the president has been known to stray from the words put down on paper by aides.

Vice-President Mike Pence and senior administration officials did nothing to quell reports that a national emergency declaration is in the works, repeatedly echoing Trump's claim that "there is a humanitarian and national security crisis".

Leaning on Senate Republicans, some of whom are growing anxious about the impact of the shutdown, Pelosi said the House would begin passing individual bills this week to reopen shuttered federal agencies, starting with the Treasury Department to ensure Americans receive their tax refunds.

The White House has not said why the situation constitutes a national emergency.

The government shutdown has affected a broad swatch of the federal government already, including national parks, airline security screening, housing and food aid, and the release of economic data. But mostly Trump still wants his wall, which Democrats describe as immoral as well as no solution to illegal immigration.

About 800,000 government workers are either on leave or working without pay.

Critics have decried the previous separation of migrant children from families, the use of tear gas at the border and the case of two Guatemalan migrant children who died in US custody in December.

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