Trump to visit US-Mexico border this week amid government shutdown

Jan 09, 2019, 01:55
Trump to visit US-Mexico border this week amid government shutdown

Trump has scheduled a trip to the border Thursday to highlight his demands for a wall.

UPDATE (1:50 p.m. Eastern): President Trump tweeted that he will address the nation live on TV at 9 p.m.

The objective of the address will be to promote his planned border wall between the United States and Mexico, characterize the issue of border security as a national security crisis and convince enough Americans to change their views on the subject that Trump can end the government shutdown by receiving border wall funding.

Democrats and several immigration advocates have argued the administration's representation of the issue is inaccurate, and accused them of manufacturing a crisis for the political goal of building the border wall, which Trump campaigned for as a presidential candidate in 2016. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who has said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., should take up funding bills from the Democrat-led House.

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Trump made his unsupported claim on Friday during an appearance in the White House Rose Garden, in which he reiterated that he would not reopen the government until Democrats approved his $5.6 billion earmarked for the wall.

But Trump and the Transportation Security Administration pushed back on any suggestion that the call-outs represented a "sickout" that was having a significant effect on US air travel. About 800,000 government workers are furloughed or working without pay.

"I know the president has said that that was his impression from previous administrations, previous presidents", Pence told NBC's "Today" show. He said experts have said neither a wall nor fencing is what's really needed at the border but rather technology, drones and more personnel. "Do they want to run the promise of more lies, more misleading statistics, more twisting of reality, mindless confrontation, all for the sake of defending Trump's dark twisted fantasy and a wall on the Mexican border?"

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway says the group had a "robust exchange" and "questions were asked and answered". He added that once "we start talking about border security as an alternative, we may be able to find a way to provide some funding that is satisfactory to the president and House Democrats".

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President Trump is still looking for a way to convince legislators to fund his border wall project. It is hard to escape the conclusion that the networks are simply more willing to give Republicans the floor than Democrats, which is also backed up by the heavy imbalance towards conservatives in Sunday talk show lineups. Such a decision would nearly certainly face a legal challenge.

But he says Trump isn't budging on his demand for billions for his border wall.

"We are grateful to the more than 51,000 agents across the country who remain focused on the mission and are respectful to the traveling public", said TSA spokesperson Michael Bilello.

Trump made his first visit to the border as president 10 months ago. They "don't like concrete, so we'll give them steel", he said. Congressional Democrats are refusing to pay for a wall. The letter from Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russell Vought sought funding for a "steel barrier on the Southwest border".

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