Presdent Donald Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Office Tuesday night, where he made his case for why the country needs a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer delivered the Democratic response to Trump’s speech.
You can watch both speeches below:
Read the original story below:
President Donald Trump will make his first Oval Office address Tuesday night to make his case to the American people for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to address what the administration says is a national security and humanitarian crisis. Trump’s desire for a border wall has forced a government shutdown that has now entered its third week.
Trump has said in tweets and other public statements that along with illegal immigration, a concrete wall or steel fence along the Southern Border will stem the flow of drugs and criminals into the United States, as well as slow human trafficking.
But fact-checks on those statements suggest those issues won’t be solved by a wall and that the administration often uses statistics in a misleading way. Trump’s own acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, said in an interview in 2015 that Trump’s views on a border wall and immigration were “simplistic” and “absurd and almost childish.” The Mulvaney interview, which occurred when the South Carolina Republican was serving in Congress, was recently uncovered by CNN.
Trump’s former chief of staff, John Kelly, also has differed with the president on the wall.
“To be honest, it’s not a wall,” Kelly told The Los Angeles Times in a year-end interview as he prepared to leave the White House. Kelly said the administration abandoned the idea of a concrete wall early on. That apparently prompted a rebuke from Trump, who said in a tweet the same day the interview was released that an all concrete wall was never abandoned.
Kelly told the paper that when he was heading the Department of Homeland Security, he spoke to Customs and Border Protection agents who told him a physical barrier was needed in some places. But the agents also said they needed technology across the board and more people, The Times reported.
Trump and other administration officials have been trying to make the case that the situation at the border has reached a crisis point, both on national security and humanitarian grounds. Two children have died in border custody, and an influx of families is straining health care and immigration services for asylum-seekers, they say.
But critics say the security risks are overblown and the administration is at least partly to blame for the humanitarian situation. While the number of illegal border crossings is down from 1.6 million in 2000 to less than 400,000 last year, the number of families coming over the border has risen sharply. Some say Trump’s hardline policies are slowing the process for those people, creating an overwhelming bottleneck at the border.
Trump has only recently zeroed in on the humanitarian issues as part of his pitch for a border wall, though Democrats and others argue a wall will not fix those problems. And he’s not abandoning his security argument.
The administration also eventually had to walk back a claim that White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders made during a Sunday interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News. Sanders said that “nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists” come into the country illegally every year and said the most vulnerable point of entry is at the southern border.
Wallace immediately corrected Sanders.
“Do you know where those 4,000 people come — where they’re captured?” Wallace asked. “Airports,” he said, supplying the answer.
When challenged on the facts, Sanders acknowledged that those people were coming “a number of ways … by air, by land and by sea,” The Associated Press wrote in a fact check. And, mainly, they’re not coming to the United States from Mexico.
SEE ALSO: AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s Mythical Terrorist Tide From Mexico
Trump and several of his officials have misrepresented federal statistics on foreigners who were stopped globally by Customs and Border Protection because they were on a watch list. They have suggested or plainly stated that they were stopped while crossing the border from Mexico.
In January 2018, a joint report by the Homeland Security and Justice departments stated that Homeland Security had 2,554 “encounters” worldwide with people on a watch list who were trying to travel to the United States. Of them, 2,170 were trying to enter the country by air, with 335 coming by land and the rest by sea. Nothing ties them specifically to Mexico.
In an interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said Sanders’ statement was “an unforunate misstatement.”
Trump’s prime-time address will be carried live by ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox Broadcasting, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, MSNBC and NBC.
His address will be followed by a response from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. (Check back here for a livestream on the Democratic response once Trump’s address is over.)
Reporting and writing from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Photo by Alex Brandon/Associated Press
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