- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responded to President Donald Trump’s first Oval Office address on Tuesday night.
- “The President has chosen fear,” Pelosi said. “We want to start with the facts.”
- While Trump’s speech focused on border security, Pelosi and Schumer highlighted the ongoing partial government shutdown.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responded to President Donald Trump’s first Oval Office address on Tuesday night.
“The President has chosen fear,” Pelosi said at the beginning of her speech. “We want to start with the facts.”
Both Trump and Democratic leaders were attempting to appeal to the American public on border security and the ongoing partial government shutdown, respectively. Both speeches aired on prime time network and cable TV.
While the president focused on border security and his proposal to beef up security – which includes a wall – Democratic leaders homed in on the partial government shutdown, which is now into its third week.
Pelosi highlighted that the House passed bills to reopen the government on the first day of the new Congress, and said that Trump has said he will not sign a funding bill if it does not have $US5 billion for a border wall. The shutdown began on December 22, after leaders could not come to an agreement over funding for the wall.
After initially signalling that he would sign a stopgap measure passed unanimously by the Senate to keep the government open, Trump said he would only sign a bill that had $US5 billion for border security – including a wall. The then-GOP held House passed a bill with that funding, however, it did not have the votes to pass the Senate. Prior to the shutdown, Democratic leaders offered $US1.3 billion to Trump for border security – excluding a border wall.
“We all agree that we need to secure our borders, while honouring our values: we can build the infrastructure and roads at our ports of entry,” Pelosi said on Tuesday night. “We can install new technology to scan cars and trucks for drugs coming into our nation; we can hire the personnel we need to facilitate trade and immigration at the border; and we can fund more innovation to detect unauthorised crossings.”
Schumer doubled down on that point, saying that Trump and congressional Democrats “sharply disagree with the President about the most effective” border security.
“There is no excuse for hurting millions of Americans over a policy difference,” he continued. “Federal workers are about to miss a paycheck. Some families can’t get a mortgage to buy a new home. Farmers and small businesses won’t get loans they desperately need.”
“The symbol of America should be the Statue of Liberty, not a thirty-foot wall,” Schumer continued.
In a statement from the Republican National Committee, chairwoman Ronna McDaniel chastised Democrats and urged them to work with Trump.
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