Par­ti­san walls get con­structed quickly

USA TODAY International Edition - - NEWS - Su­san Page

WASHINGTON – Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has run into a wall. It’s the new Demo­cratic House.

In the first Oval Office ad­dress of his pres­i­dency, Trump ar­gued Tues­day night that a se­cu­rity and hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis at the Mex­i­can bor­der has made it im­per­a­tive for Congress to ap­prove his im­mi­gra­tion pro­posal, in­clud­ing al­lo­cat­ing $5.7 bil­lion for a wall he said will block il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion and il­licit drugs.

“How much more Amer­i­can blood must we shed be­fore Congress does its job?” the pres­i­dent said in a blunt ap­peal to con­gres­sional Democrats af­ter de­tail­ing mur­ders un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants are ac­cused of com­mit­ting in Cal­i­for­nia, Ge­or­gia and Mary­land. “To those who re­fused to com­pro­mise in the name of bor­der se­cu­rity, I would ask, imag­ine if it was your child, your hus­band or your wife whose life was so cru­elly shat­tered and to­tally bro­ken.”

The pres­i­dent’s de­mand for money to build a wall, the sig­na­ture prom­ise of his 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, has smashed into the flat re­jec­tion of that idea by con­gres­sional Democrats. That bat­tle, the knot at the cen­ter of the par­tial gov­ern­ment shut­down, looms as the first test of wills in the na­tion’s new di­vided gov­ern­ment.

Trump’s 10-minute speech was fol­lowed by joint re­marks by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Charles Schumer, also car­ried in prime time by the ma­jor tele­vi­sion net­works. Pelosi de­cried the pres­i­dent’s re­marks as “full of mis­in­for­ma­tion and even mal­ice.” Stand­ing side-by-side with Schumer at a sin­gle lectern, six Amer­i­can flags be­hind them, she ac­cused Trump of us­ing the shut­down to hold “the Amer­i­can peo­ple hostage.”

Both sides tried to con­vince vot­ers that they were the rea­son­able ones and the other side the ob­struc­tion­ists, though nei­ther vol­un­teered the sort of ges­ture that might clear a path to­ward a com­pro­mise.

Con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans didn’t de­liver money for Trump’s wall when they were in charge over the past two years, and the shut­down be­gan on their watch. But they didn’t openly defy him on that is­sue, or many oth­ers.

The Democrats were all defiance, and surely not for the last time. Schumer ac­cused Trump of try­ing to “gov­ern by tem­per tantrum.”


Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump makes his case for bor­der wall fund­ing in a prime-time ad­dress Tues­day from the Oval Of­fice.

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