Published: Wed, January 09, 2019
Arts&Culture | By Kristi Paul

Trump Reportedly Trying to End Shutdown Without Looking Weak

Trump Reportedly Trying to End Shutdown Without Looking Weak

He declared there was "a humanitarian crisis, a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul" behind the border debate. Many officials and workers are now openly criticizing the President for holding them hostage in a fight they have nothing to do with.

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 "a federal government shutdown should not be a negotiating tactic as disagreements are resolved".

Democrats and other opponents of a border wall had threatened to take legal action if Trump issued the order, arguing that he is manufacturing a crisis to carry out his 2016 presidential campaign promise for a wall that he said at the time would be paid for by Mexico.

Democrats have repeatedly slammed the proposed wall but have remained vague about counter-proposals that would curb illegal immigration.

In 2006, senators Chuck Schumer, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden voted in favour of 700 miles (1,120km) of fencing on the almost 2,000-mile border under the Secure Fence Act.

Other Democrats have also expressed dismay with the networks' decision to provide Trump with wall-to-wall coverage for his immigration speech when they failed to do the same thing for President Barack Obama when he discussed immigration.

"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", Democrat leaders Senator Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement last night, even as various liberal quarters demanded that Trump's speech should be subjected to a delayed telecast to enable instant fact-checking given his propensity for lies and dissembling. Some say Trump's hardline policies are slowing processing for migrants, creating an overwhelming bottleneck at the border.

Although the address wasn't too dissimilar from his previous arguments in favor of a border wall, it came at a critical time for Congress and the nation as a whole.

The president had "chosen fear" in making the case to the American people for the border wall and Democrats "want to start with the facts", she said.

Mr Schumer accused Mr Trump of trying to "govern by temper tantrum". "Division, not unity", the NY senator said.

In fact, a study by the libertarian Cato Institute past year found that crime rates among immigrants in Texas - both legal and unauthorized - were lower than those among native-born Americans.

All the major TV networks have agreed to air the address, despite widespread backlash from critics who point to the president's routine falsehoods and say media outlets should not help him spread political propaganda. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency found that 90 per cent of smuggled heroin went through designated ports of entry such as border crossings, and air or seaports, which means it would not be stopped by a wall.

Betting site was offering odds for wagers on whether Trump would lie during his speech, declare a national emergency or end the shutdown by January 18.

A new opinion poll suggests just over half of Americans (51%) blame President Trump for the government shutdown.

Such a dramatic escalation of the standoff might allow him to access military spending to fund his barrier, which remains un-built two years into his presidency.

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