Trump Calls Border Security a ‘Crisis’ as Democrats Challenge Claims

How to watch Trump's border wall speech and Pelosi-Schumer rebuttal on

Responding in their own televised remarks, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer accused Mr Trump of misrepresenting the situation on the border as they urged him to reopen closed Government departments and turn loose paychecks for hundreds of thousands of workers.

The two leaders said this in a joint statement late Monday: "Now that the television networks have chose to air the president's address, which if his past statements are any indication will be full of malice and misinformation, Democrats must immediately be given equal airtime".

The address offered little hope of a breakthrough in negotiations over the shutdown, leaving the argument about where it was before Mr Trump began talking. Eastern on ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN and FoxNews.

My fellow Americans, we address you tonight for one reason only: the President of the United States - having failed to get Mexico to pay for his ineffective, unnecessary border wall, and unable to convince the Congress or the American people to foot the bill - has shut down the government.

As the government shutdown enters its 18th day, Trump has refused to back down on his demands of approval of $5.7 billion to fund the steel wall on the southern border, a request denied by the Democrats.

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Pelosi and Schumer say in the statement that Trump has "the power to stop hurting the country" by ending the shutdown.

Pelosi and Schumer also emphasized an obvious fact: On the first day that the 116th Congress was in session, House Democrats, who now hold the majority, passed government spending legislation that was almost identical to what Senate Republicans passed at the tail-end of the 115th Congress. "Division, not unity", the NY senator said. That is the nature of the stand-off and the reason the President felt the need to use the ultimate bully pulpit to make his case on Tuesday night. The first was the American public, which polls indicate are generally uninterested in his border wall proposal and view the president as responsible for the government shutdown. But in the most recent test, it did not work.

What's the reality at the border?

The number of illegal border crossings is down from 1.6 million in 2000 to fewer than 400,000 a year ago.

Multiple studies from social scientists and the libertarian think-tank Cato Institute have found that people here illegally are less likely to commit crime than USA citizens, and legal immigrants are even less likely to do so. On Monday, Kellyanne Conway, the White House counselor, admitted that this was "an unfortunate misstatement" as most of the individuals were stopped at airports.

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How much support does President Trump have?

Mr Trump called on Democrats to return to the White House to meet with him, saying it was "immoral" for "politicians to do nothing".

Her fellow Republican senators, Susan Collins of ME and Cory Gardner of Colorado, issued similar appeals last week.

Democrats have rejected the idea as an illegal overreach of presidential authority but Republican lawmakers - who repeatedly challenged former president Barack Obama's attempts to exert executive authority - have been relatively quiet. But he took little action to get it built during his first two years in office.

Some correspondents have speculated that he may ultimately resort to such a declaration as a last-ditch tactic to allow him to reopen the government without losing face to Democrats.

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