Trump pleads on TV for wall funding to fix border ‘crisis’


By Catherine Lucey, Jill Colvin and Lisa Mascaro - Associated Press



President Donald Trump speaks from the Oval Office of the White House as he gives a prime-time address about border security Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2018, in Washington. (Carlos Barria/Pool Photo via AP)

President Donald Trump speaks from the Oval Office of the White House as he gives a prime-time address about border security Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2018, in Washington. (Carlos Barria/Pool Photo via AP)


A man holds on to the border wall along the beach, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, in Tijuana, Mexico. Ready to make his case on prime-time TV, President Donald Trump is stressing humanitarian as well as security concerns at the U.S.-Mexico border as he tries to convince America he must get funding for his long-promised border wall before ending a partial government shutdown that has hundreds of thousands of federal workers facing missed paychecks. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

A man holds on to the border wall along the beach, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, in Tijuana, Mexico. Ready to make his case on prime-time TV, President Donald Trump is stressing humanitarian as well as security concerns at the U.S.-Mexico border as he tries to convince America he must get funding for his long-promised border wall before ending a partial government shutdown that has hundreds of thousands of federal workers facing missed paychecks. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)


ADDS TO CLARIFY THAT COMPANIES ARE OPPOSING SHAREHOLDER VOTE ON PROPOSAL - FILE - In this Dec. 9, 2018, file photo, the striped shadow of the U.S. border wall falls on a migrant family as they walk on U.S. soil near Imperial Beach, Calif., after squeezing through a small hole under the border wall aided by two local guides, seen from Tijuana, Mexico. The nation's two largest private detention companies don't want a shareholder vote on resolutions that would prevent them from housing immigrant children separated from their parents, even though both companies say that is not something they currently do. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump made a somber televised plea for border wall funding Tuesday night, seeking an edge in his 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.” Previous meetings have led to no agreement.

Responding in their own televised remarks, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer accused Trump of misrepresenting the situation on the border as they urged him to reopen closed government departments and turn loose paychecks for hundreds of thousands of workers.

Schumer said Trump “just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear and divert attention from the turmoil in his administration.”

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. But critics say the security risks are overblown and the administration is at least partly to blame for the humanitarian situation.

Trump used emotional language, referring to Americans who were killed by people in the country illegally, saying: “I’ve met with dozens of families whose loved ones were stolen by illegal immigration. I’ve held the hands of the weeping mothers and embraced the grief-stricken fathers. So sad. So terrible.”

The president often highlights such incidents, though studies over several years have found immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than people born in the United States.

Trump has been discussing the idea of declaring a national emergency to allow him to move forward with the wall without getting congressional approval for the $5.7 billion he’s requested. But he did not mention that Tuesday night.

With his use of a formal White House speech instead of his favored Twitter blasts, Trump embraced the ceremonial trappings of his office as he tries to exit a political quagmire of his own making. For weeks he has dug in on a signature campaign promise to his base voters, the pledge to build an impregnable “beautiful” wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The partial government shutdown reached its 18th day, making the closure the second-longest in history. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers are going without pay, and government disruptions are hitting home with everyday Americans.

President Donald Trump speaks from the Oval Office of the White House as he gives a prime-time address about border security Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2018, in Washington. (Carlos Barria/Pool Photo via AP)
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2019/01/web1_122096741-8f3f97b0e94542b8ab7c2110560dbf30.jpgPresident Donald Trump speaks from the Oval Office of the White House as he gives a prime-time address about border security Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2018, in Washington. (Carlos Barria/Pool Photo via AP)
A man holds on to the border wall along the beach, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, in Tijuana, Mexico. Ready to make his case on prime-time TV, President Donald Trump is stressing humanitarian as well as security concerns at the U.S.-Mexico border as he tries to convince America he must get funding for his long-promised border wall before ending a partial government shutdown that has hundreds of thousands of federal workers facing missed paychecks. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2019/01/web1_122096741-679239b3438b468c8444a4f3920ec7c7.jpgA man holds on to the border wall along the beach, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, in Tijuana, Mexico. Ready to make his case on prime-time TV, President Donald Trump is stressing humanitarian as well as security concerns at the U.S.-Mexico border as he tries to convince America he must get funding for his long-promised border wall before ending a partial government shutdown that has hundreds of thousands of federal workers facing missed paychecks. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
ADDS TO CLARIFY THAT COMPANIES ARE OPPOSING SHAREHOLDER VOTE ON PROPOSAL - FILE - In this Dec. 9, 2018, file photo, the striped shadow of the U.S. border wall falls on a migrant family as they walk on U.S. soil near Imperial Beach, Calif., after squeezing through a small hole under the border wall aided by two local guides, seen from Tijuana, Mexico. The nation's two largest private detention companies don't want a shareholder vote on resolutions that would prevent them from housing immigrant children separated from their parents, even though both companies say that is not something they currently do. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2019/01/web1_122096741-ba40146ea5684d26a04633a5207b3a48.jpgADDS TO CLARIFY THAT COMPANIES ARE OPPOSING SHAREHOLDER VOTE ON PROPOSAL - FILE - In this Dec. 9, 2018, file photo, the striped shadow of the U.S. border wall falls on a migrant family as they walk on U.S. soil near Imperial Beach, Calif., after squeezing through a small hole under the border wall aided by two local guides, seen from Tijuana, Mexico. The nation's two largest private detention companies don't want a shareholder vote on resolutions that would prevent them from housing immigrant children separated from their parents, even though both companies say that is not something they currently do. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

By Catherine Lucey, Jill Colvin and Lisa Mascaro

Associated Press

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