President Donald Trump in Oval Office Address to the Nation on January 8th, 2019 | Photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters
Last week, President Trump delivered an Oval Office address to the nation to make the case for why the country needs a border wall on the US-Mexico border— one of his key 2016 campaign promises. All of this is happening during a partial federal government shutdown over funding for the wall, which began late December.
Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) provided a response on behalf of the Democrats, stating that the president created a “manufactured crisis”, which helps give validity to several Democrats (including Pelosi) calling the potential border wall “immoral”.
Just a few days ago, Speaker Pelosi stated that the Democratic led house will not pass any government funding bill that appropriates funds for President Trump’s border wall. The Democrats do not wish to give the president any wins or help further his agenda.
Photo: Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stating the Democratic Response to President Trump's Oval Office Address on January 8th, 2019 | Photo: Alex Brandon/AP
Earlier last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stated that he will not take up any bill that the President will likely veto. This deadlock in congress has no end in sight, with both sides unwilling to budge or compromise.
All sides are to blame for this issue, especially the Republican majority congress during Trump’s first two years. During this time, the President and congress had ample time to negotiate and compromise with their fellow Republicans and Democrats who were against his agenda— and they all squandered their time.
Now that we have no control over what failed to happen, we are at a last resort. This is the very last time the president will be able to receive funding for his border wall— or Republicans need to kiss both this key campaign promise and a potential second term goodbye.
It is wise for President Trump to make a public argument for the border wall, but he could have gone even further. It would have been even more productive to show the American people pictures and visual evidence of areas on the border which do not have any physical protection. Republicans need to sell the case with not only emotion, but visual evidence which progressives purposely ignore.
The Democrats are pursuing a tactic where they are attempting to persuade Republicans to pass government funding without appropriating any funds for the wall, and at which point they will then “debate” and “negotiate” for border security after. Republicans should not cave in to this tactic, as the Democrats will never revisit this issue as originally promised.
Politically, this double edged sword is also a severe problem that will limit both parties abilities to compromise: Pelosi will not want to grant him funding, as it will tarnish her reputation and support amongst House Democrats while she is just beginning her speakership, and President Trump doesn’t want to cave in to the issue as he will have more of a difficult time getting re-elected in 2020.
We should be sympathetic to the 800,000 furloughed individuals who are caught in the middle of this mess, but they will get their money back once this shutdown ends. Republicans need to focus on securing the funding for the border wall (which is really a steel fence, but that’s another conversation) so we can begin the process of true immigration reform. As Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) stated last week we need to pass border wall funding, and then re-open the government in that order.
This is not some manufactured crisis like Senator Schumer stated. There are real statistics, and real dangers which come with illegal immigration. For many American families, this is a life and death situation— there are actual families grieving from murders committed by illegal immigrants.
Yes, the opposition correctly reports that illegal immigrants commit less murders statistically than American citizens, but that’s a non-argument. One crime committed by an illegal immigrant, let alone anyone, is one crime too many.
Republicans and the President cannot cave in and re-open the government without wall funding. The Democrats will never revisit this issue and the President would have failed on his obligation to keep American citizens safe and to secure America’s borders.