January 10, 2019

Trump's Speech

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump addressed the nation regarding the situation at the southern border, urging Congress to fund his proposed border wall.

Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) offered a rebuttal afterwards that was also carried live on national television.

See past issues

From the Left

The left is critical of the proposed wall and Trump’s speech.

“The security of the US-Mexico border in fiscal year 2018 (which ended on September 30 of last year) was comparable to the early 1970s… 2017 was an abnormally slow year for border crossings… Since numbers started ticking back up in early 2018, the Trump administration has been in a near-constant state of panic over the border. It’s the result of a bad baseline — and unreasonable expectations

“It might be fair to call the current situation at the border a ‘humanitarian crisis.’ But… it isn’t something a wall can fix. The point of walls is to prevent people from crossing into the US undetected. That’s not what most of the families and children who are crossing are doing… [They] are seeking asylum — seeking to live legally in the US. That’s something they have a legal right to do even if they crossed illegally — and it’s something they could do at a port of entry even if there were a wall across the entire border.”

“In anticipation of the president’s speech, The New York Times sent correspondents to the Mexico side of the border and to the four states on the United States side — California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas — and found few who shared the president’s sense of alarm. Many said there was indeed a humanitarian crisis unfolding, but they blamed the Trump administration for worsening it.”
New York Times

“[Trump] tried to change minds Tuesday by complicating his narrative. He insisted that he has been pushing for a broad package of immigration and humanitarian reforms… This desperate maneuver did not work… Democrats have offered to deal on other types of border security, a fact the Democratic leaders highlighted…

“But Trump has continually refused to shift the debate from a binary choice on the wall. Trump’s intolerance of complexity, his compulsion to always win, his instinct to bludgeon any given issue with simplistic proclamations and broad generalizations, usually supported by nothing more than ego and misunderstandings, has led him into an ever-smaller corner. He did not map a path out on Tuesday.”
Washington Post

“Were Mr. Trump truly interested in securing the border, and easing the suffering his policies are making worse, there are immediate steps he could take. For starters, he could end this wretched shutdown so that the people responsible for protecting the border can get paid, immigration judges can return to processing asylum claims and, yes, the physical and virtual barriers already in place can be maintained and perhaps even improved.”
New York Times

If there were a genuine national security crisis on the southern border, Republicans in the House and Senate would be tripping over themselves to fund — and take credit for funding — Trump's border wall… And yet, what have we seen over the past two years during which Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and could have appropriated funds for Trump's beloved wall at any time? Zip. Nada. Nothing.”
The Week

“[Trump] has gone to the mat on the issue of the border wall, grinding the gears of government to a halt for what might be the longest shutdown ever in hopes of receiving $5 billion for the wall’s construction. This is the president’s big idea, the one he is clearly willing to expend political capital on to force Congress’s hand. It’s a fight that he might yet win. But it’s also one that he likely knows—as his own administration has made plain—will not save many lives from overdoses.”
The Atlantic

Regarding the Democrats’ response, many felt that Pelosi and Schumer failed to provide “a compelling counter-narrative: Immigrants didn’t cause the opioid epidemic, the pharmaceutical industry did. Immigrants didn’t depress wages — politicians doing the bidding of concentrated corporate power did…

The Democratic Party needs representatives who bear some relationship to ordinary people — not the well-preserved totems to the anti-aging powers of wealth that spawned a thousand memes.”
The Intercept

From the Right

The right praised Trump’s speech and continues to support the wall.

The right praised Trump’s speech and continues to support the wall.

Trump’s presentation [Tuesday night] was calm and reasoned. There was no bombast and no name-calling — indeed, none of the stuff that many find off-putting. The case he made was a straightforward blend of facts and common sense, with no gratuitous attacks on Democrats… [He] laid out a common sense case for the need to fund border security and build more wall.”
Power Line Blog

“In contrast to Trump, Pelosi and [Schumer] came across as small and intransigent. While Trump spoke calmly and rationally from behind the Resolute Desk, the Democratic leaders accused him of ‘pounding the table’ and having a ‘temper tantrum.’ While Trump told human stories, they complained about process. They accused him of arguing that the women and children at the border were ‘a security threat’ when he had just explained to the American people that they were victims, too…

“To normal Americans watching in the heartland, and who are not steeped in Trump hatred, the president must have seemed like the adult in the room.”
Washington Post

“Everyone with the slightest familiarity with the issue as it has arisen has seen the Democrats go from semi-zealots of border security to vapid opportunists laser-focused on the simplest aspect of unpaid federal employees. The president reminded the country of the proportions of the illegal-immigration issue — of the humanitarian tragedy, of the drug crisis, and of the crimes of an appreciable number of the illegal immigrants.”
National Review

“There is indeed a simmering crisis at our southern border. It is not an influx of terrorists… It is an ongoing surge of minors and families from Central America that we are ill-equipped as a matter of law and resources to handle… [and] our inability to control the flow encourages more migrants to come.”
National Review

“The fact is that the resources at the southern border are overwhelmed by the influx of migrants and there is no end in sight. On Christmas Day hundreds of migrants were released in El Paso with nowhere to go and no resources to sustain themselves. No city deserves to have to cope with that…

“Democrats are doing everything in their power to deny President Trump a barrier to protect our border. It was his number one campaign promise to secure the border and build a wall. They don’t want Trump to get the campaign promise delivered.”
Hot Air

“The President is not calling for a border wall to be built across the entire border. His proposal has been scaled back to add just 234 more miles in areas identified by the Department of Homeland Security at a cost of $5.7 billion. On top of that, he requests [funds for narcotics detection, additional Border Patrol and ICE agents, additional detention beds, and additional immigration judges]...

These are all reasonable requests. The only reason Democrats are now opposed is because Donald Trump is the one asking. But Democrats were willing to build fencing and walls for Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.”
The Resurgent

Many point out “the Democrats’ theme for the evening was ‘facts, not fear.’ Many major media also adopted the same theme… But when it came time to back up this talking point about factual inaccuracies, the media whiffed. Most of the alleged ‘fact’ ‘checks’ were instead critiques of opinions. Many critiqued things not included in Trump’s speech. And sometimes the ‘fact’ ‘checks’ dinged Trump for saying completely true things...

“Checking facts is extremely important. It’s a vital function of journalism and one that was sorely missing for a good eight years of the Obama presidency. It’s not that journalists have over-corrected — a genuine return to fact-based reporting wouldn’t just be welcome but preferable. The problem is that they’re extremely confused about the difference between value assessments and facts.”
The Federalist

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