Trump to visit US-Mexico border this week amid government shutdown

Leroy Wright
January 8, 2019

- President Trump has announced he will deliver prime-time address Tuesday night on what he calls a border "crisis" amid ongoing shutdown fight.

Trump tweets that he will address the nation at 9 p.m. It will be his first Oval Office address as president.White House press secretary Sarah Sanders also announced that Trump will travel to the border on Thursday "to meet with those on the frontlines of the national security and humanitarian crisis".

Democrats say other border security measures are more efficient and cost-effective than a wall, which they say is contrary to American values.

Democratic lawmakers are refusing to negotiate with the White House over funding for a proposed wall along the USA southern border unless the government is reopened, Vice President Mike Pence told reporters Monday in a briefing at his ceremonial office. Trump said on Friday he could declare a national emergency in order to build the wall, which would circumvent Congress' authority over funding for the federal government.

"Should we ask Nancy Pelosi about removing the walls that we already have on the border?" he asked.

Trump has offered to build the barrier with steel rather than concrete, billing that as a concession to Democrats' objections to a solid wall.

On Sunday, Trump pledged not to bend in his demand money for the wall but said the barrier could be made of steel instead of concrete as a potential compromise with Democrats who refuse to fund it.

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Police said some 3,500 demonstrators turned up on the Champs-Elysees on Saturday morning. France's Interior Minister put Saturday's nationwide turnout at around 50,000.

However, in what could be read as a gesture to appease Democrats, the Trump administration is now offering $800 million in aid to address humanitarian needs at the border, including better medical care and additional facilities for processing and holding those in temporary custody considered to be the most "vulnerable population".

The government is on day 16 of the partial shutdown - the second-longest in history slated to become the longest this weekend.

Williams said Trump is also playing "base tribal politics" and that he's playing up issues at the border to distract from other issues he's facing.

Watch more of the discussion above. The Senate, meanwhile, which remains under GOP control, has per Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to take up any legislation that the president will not support-and the president is standing by his demand for border wall funding.

The White House did not say whether he planned to make such a declaration, which would nearly certainly face a legal challenge, on Tuesday night.

A threatened shutdown of the U.S. government would see hundreds of thousands of federal employees furloughed and many more working without pay.

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