In a televised speech from the Oval Office on Tuesday night, Trump said there was a “humanitarian and national security crisis” at the southern US border, adding that all Americans had been hurt by illegal immigration.
“This barrier is absolutely critical to border security,” Trump said in his address. “This is just common sense. This is a choice between right and wrong, between justice and injustice.”
The US president pointed the finger of blame at congressional democrats for the partial government shutdown which has caused political turmoil in Washington for nearly three weeks over disagreement on funding the construction of a border wall.
Shortly after the Oval Office address, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Charles Schumer condemned Trump’s remarks in a joint statement and accused him of trying to “stoke fear” with his calls for a wall on the Mexican border.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2019
“Sadly, much of what we have heard from President Trump throughout this senseless shutdown has been full of misinformation and even malice,” said Pelosi, who spoke first. “The President has chosen fear. We want to start with the facts.”
Schumer criticized Trump for using the Oval Office to make his pitch for the US-Mexico border wall.
“Most presidents have used Oval Office addresses for noble purposes. This president just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear, and divert attention from the turmoil in his administration,” he said.