Trump Calls for Border Wall Money; Pelosi Accuses Him of 'Fear' and 'Malice'

Jan 8, 2019

President Donald Trump delivered an address from the Oval Office Jan. 8 to make his case for a border wall with Mexico.
Credit White House

President Donald Trump made a televised plea for border wall funding Tuesday night, seeking an edge in the shutdown battle with congressional Democrats as he declared there is "a humanitarian crisis, a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul."

Addressing the nation from the Oval Office for the first time, Trump argued for funding on security and humanitarian grounds as he sought to put pressure on newly empowered Democrats amid an extended partial government shutdown.

Trump called on Democrats to return to the White House to meet with him, saying it was "immoral" for "politicians to do nothing."

Trump, who has long railed against illegal immigration at the border, has recently seized on humanitarian concerns to argue there is a broader crisis that can only be solved with a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. But critics say the security risks are overblown and his administration is at least partly to blame for the humanitarian situation.

Trump has been discussing the idea of declaring a national emergency to allow him to circumvent Congress and move forward with the wall. But he made no mention of such a declaration Tuesday night.

Democrats have vowed to block funding for a wall, which they say would be immoral and ineffective, and have called on Trump to reopen shuttered portions of the government while border negotiations continue.

Pelosi Call For Government Shutdown to End

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the president has "chosen fear" in making the case to the American people for the border wall and Democrats "want to start with the facts."

Pelosi said Tuesday night in a rebuttal to President Donald Trump's Oval Office address that "we all agree that we need to secure our borders."

She noted that the House passed legislation to reopen government on the first day of the new Congress. But Trump rejects that legislation because it doesn't have funding for his border wall.

She says: "The fact is: President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis, and must reopen the government."

(An earlier story runs below here...)  

President Donald Trump will deliver a prime-time address to the nation about border security and what he says is the case for $5 billion to build a border wall, the latter being the issue that has led him to force the government shutdown. NHPR will have special coverage and broadcast the speech live, starting at 9 p.m. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will give a joint response. The government is partially shut down, with Trump in a stalemate with Democrats over funding for a wall along the southern border. 

A live-stream video of the speech will be available at 9 tonight. Watch below when the address is scheduled to begin.

(This article was updated with AP material following the President's remarks.)