Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a rebuke on Tuesday night to President Donald Trump’s Oval Office speech about the government shutdown and his desire to build a wall.
“I appreciate the opportunity to speak directly to the American people tonight about how we can end this shutdown and meet the needs of the American people. Sadly much of what we heard from President Trump throughout this senseless shutdown has been full of misinformation and even malice. The president has chosen fear. We want to start with the facts,” Pelosi began. (RELATED: Schumer, Pelosi Demand ‘Equal Airtime’ To Trump After TV Networks Opt To Air Trump’s Address)
She continued, “The fact is on the very first day of this Congress, House Democrats passed Senate Republican legislation to reopen government and fund smart, effective border security solutions, but the president is rejecting these bipartisan bills which would reopen government over his obsession with forcing American taxpayers to waste billions of dollars on an expensive and ineffective wall, a wall he always promised Mexico would pay for.”
“The fact is, we all agree we need to secure our borders while honoring our values. We can build the infrastructure and roads at our ports of entry. We can install new technology to scan cars and trucks for drugs coming into our nation,” Pelosi added. “We can hire the personnel to facilitate trade and immigration at the border. We can fund more innovation to detect unauthorized crossings.”
The president’s and Democrats’ addresses came in the middle of the third week of the partial government shutdown as Republicans and Democrats fight over spending on border security. Trump has demanded over $5 billion for his proposed wall, while the Democrats have only offered under $2 billion for the vague “border security.”
Pelosi then handed the microphone over to Schumer.
“The President of the United States having failed to get Mexico to pay for his ineffective, unnecessary border wall, and unable to convince the Congress or the American people to foot the bill, has shutdown the government. American democracy doesn’t work that way. We don’t govern by temper tantrum. No president should pound the table and demand he gets his way or else the government shuts down. Hurting millions of Americans who are treated as leverage.”
It remains unclear what the next step will be and how the shutdown and fight over the wall will be resolved.