US President Donald Trump stopped short of invoking emergency powers, appealing instead to Democrats for approval of his border barrier proposal by arguing that illegal immigration via Mexico was causing a humanitarian crisis.
Trump’s address to the nation, broadcast by major networks live from the Oval office, comes amid an ongoing partial shutdown of federal government services, due to the White House’s insistence on Congress spending at least $5 billion on building a border wall, which Democrats are insistent on blocking.
Despite speculation ahead of the speech that Trump might invoke a declaration of national emergency and unlock sweeping presidential powers that would allow him to command the Pentagon to build the border wall, the president ended up asking for another meeting with congressional Democrats to resolve the impasse.
Democrats have repeatedly vowed Trump will “never” get a penny for the border wall, declaring it outdated, ineffective, and “immoral.” Trump addressed those arguments by saying the steel barrier was proposed by professionals at the Department of Homeland Security and the US Border Patrol. And if walls are immoral, he asked, why do wealthy politicians build walls, fences and gates around their homes?
“They don’t build walls because they hate the people on the outside. They build walls because they love the people on the inside,” Trump said. “The only thing immoral is for politicians to do nothing.”
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