President Trump Frames Need for Border Wall as "Crisis of the Heart and Soul" During His Address to the Nation

"This is a humanitarian crisis. A crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul," said President Donald Trump of the situation at the U.S. southern border during his first prime-time address to the nation from the White House Oval Office.

The president's nine-minute speech focused on what he called a "crisis" at the U.S. border and his subsequent request for $5.7 billion to fund a steel wall. The federal government is now in its third week of a partial shutdown over Trump's refusal to sign any spending bill that does not provide that money

The address to the nation, which aired on all major broadcast and cable networks, was a scripted affair. The president read from a teleprompter and refrained from the extemporization that has become a trademark of his rally speeches..

"Senator Chuck Schumer, who you will be hearing from tonight, has repeatedly supported a physical barrier in the past, along with many other Democrats. They changed their mind only after I was elected president" said Trump, who escalated the border situation to its current crisis level.

Trump repeated some of the White House talking points, but left out important bits of context around them. He told the nation that 90 percent of heroin in the U.S. "floods across our southern border" but did not mention that the majority of drugs come into the country through legal ports of entry on the border, or by sea. Much of fentanyl, a potentially lethal and addictive opioid, comes from China through mail delivery.

The president also repeated his "wealthy people build walls" line, which disregards their want for privacy. "Some have suggested a barrier is immoral," said Trump. "Then why do wealthy politicians build walls around their homes?" he asked. "The only thing is immoral is the politicians to do nothing and allow innocent people to be victimized."

The president, who promised many times during his 2016 campaign that Mexico would pay for the border wall, repeated his explanation that the wall would be paid for by his newly negotiated U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade deal. This deal has not yet passed Congress and is therefore not law. If it does pass, its benefits would be passed on to American companies, not the U.S. Treasury, and Mexico would not be paying for the wall through this trade deal.

Trump made no mention of the 800,000 federal employees who are not working, during the shutdown, or of the 400,000 working without pay.

He did not declare a national emergency as a way use to fund the wall without congressional approval.

Instead, he urged Democrats to come together and give him the funding for his wall, which he said could happen over the course of a "45-minute meeting." The next meeting between Democratic leadership and Trump is expected to take place Wednesday afternoon..

President Trump Frames Need for Border Wall as "Crisis of the Heart and Soul" During His Address to the Nation | U.S.