Oval Office Address
Written by James Rhodes
Published on January 9, 2019
Here is the full transcript below:
President Donald Trump
My fellow Americans,
Tonight, I am speaking to you because there is a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border. Every day customs and border patrol agents encounter thousands of illegal immigrants trying to enter our country. We are out of space to hold them and we have no way to promptly return them back home to their country. America proudly welcomes millions of lawful immigrants who enrich our society and contribute to our nation. But, all Americans are hurt by uncontrolled illegal migration. It strains public resources and drives down jobs and wages. Among those hardest hit are African-Americans and Hispanic Americans. Our southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs, including meth, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl. Every week 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone, 90 percent of which floods across from our southern border. More Americans will die from drugs this year than were killed in the entire Vietnam War.
In the last two years, ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records including those charged or convicted of 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 violent killings. Over the years thousands of Americans have been brutally killed by those who illegally entered our country and thousands more lives will be lost if we don’t act right now. This is a humanitarian crisis, a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul.
Last month, 20,000 migrant children were illegally brought into the United States, a dramatic increase. These children are used as human pawns by vicious coyotes and ruthless gangs. One in three women are sexually assaulted on the dangerous trek up through Mexico. Women and children are the biggest victims by far of our broken system. This is the tragic reality of illegal immigration on our southern border. This is the cycle of human suffering that I am determined to end.
My administration has presented Congress with a detailed proposal to secure the border and stop the criminal gangs, drug smugglers and human traffickers. It’s a tremendous problem. Our proposal was developed by law enforcement professionals and border agents at the department of homeland security. These are the resources they have requested to properly perform their mission and keep America safe. In fact, safer than ever before. The proposal from Homeland Security includes cutting-edge technology for detecting drugs, weapons, illegal contraband and many other things. We have requested more agents, immigration judges, and bed space to process the sharp rise in unlawful migration fueled by our very strong economy. Our plan also contains an urgent request for humanitarian assistance and medical support. Furthermore, we have asked Congress to close border security loopholes so that illegal immigrant children can be safely and humanely returned back home. Finally, as part of an overall approach to border security, law enforcement professionals have requested $5.7 billion for a physical barrier. At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall.
This barrier is absolutely critical to border security. It’s also what our professionals at the border want and need. This is just common sense. The border wall would very quickly pay for itself. The cost of illegal drugs exceeds $500 billion a year. Vastly more than the $5.7 billion we have requested from Congress. The wall will always be paid for indirectly by the great new trade deal we have made with Mexico. Sen. Chuck Schumer, who you will be hearing from later 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. Democrats in Congress have refused to acknowledge the crisis. And they have refused to provide our brave border agents with the tools they desperately need to protect our families and our nation. The federal government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only because Democrats will not fund border security. My administration is doing everything in our power to help those impacted by the situation. But the only solution is for Democrats to pass a spending bill that defends our borders and reopens the government. This situation could be solved in a 45-minute meeting. I have invited congressional leadership to the White House tomorrow to get this done. Hopefully, we can rise above partisan politics in order to support national security.
Some have suggested a barrier is immoral. Then why do wealthy politicians build walls, fences and gates around their homes? They don’t build walls because they hate the people on the outside, but because they love the people on the inside. The only thing that is immoral is for the politicians to do nothing and continue to allow more innocent people to be so horribly victimized. America’s heart broke the day after Christmas when a young police officer in California was savagely murdered in cold blood by an illegal alien who just came across the border. The life of an American hero was stolen by someone who had no right to be in our country.
Day after day, precious lives are cut short by those who have violated our borders. In California, an Air Force veteran was raped, murdered and beaten to death with a hammer by an illegal alien with a long criminal history. In Georgia, an illegal alien was recently charged with murder for killing, beheading and dismembering his neighbor. In Maryland, MS-13 gang members who arrived in the United States as unaccompanied minors were arrested and charged last year after viciously stabbing and beating a 16-year-old girl. Over the last several years, I have 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. I will never forget the pain in their eyes, the tremble in their voices and the sadness gripping their souls. How much more American blood must we shed before Congress does its job?
For those who refuse 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. To every member of Congress, pass a bill that ends this crisis. To every citizen, call Congress and tell them to finally, after all of these decades, secure our border. This is a choice between right and wrong, justice and injustice. This is about whether we fulfill our sacred duty to the American citizens we serve. When I took the oath of office, I swore to protect our country. And that is what I will always do so help me God. Thank you and good night.
Here is the full transcript of the Democratic response from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Senate Leader Chuck Schumer to President Trump’s Oval Office address:
House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Good evening. I appreciate the opportunity to speak directly to the American people tonight about how we can end this shutdown and meet the needs of the American people.
Sadly, much of what we have heard from President Trump throughout this senseless shutdown has been full of misinformation and even malice.
The President has chosen fear. We want to start with the facts.
The fact is: On the very first day of this Congress, House Democrats passed Senate Republican legislation to re-open government and fund smart, effective border security solutions.
But the President is rejecting these bipartisan bills which would re-open government, over his obsession with forcing American taxpayers to waste billions of dollars on an expensive and ineffective wall, a wall he always promised Mexico would pay for!
The fact is, President Trump has chosen to hold hostage critical services for the health, safety and well-being of the American people and withhold the paychecks of 800,000 innocent workers across the nation, many of them veterans.
He promised to keep government shutdown for ‘months or years’ no matter whom it hurts. That’s just plain wrong.
The fact is, we all agree that we need to secure our borders, while honoring our values, we can build the infrastructure and roads at our ports of entry; we can install new technology to scan cars and trucks for drugs coming into our nation; we can hire the personnel we need to facilitate trade and immigration at the border; and we can fund more innovation to detect unauthorized crossings.
The fact is, the women and children at the border are not a security threat, they are a humanitarian challenge, a challenge that President Trump’s own cruel and counterproductive policies have only deepened.
And the fact is: President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis, and must re-open the government.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer
Thank you, Speaker Pelosi.
My fellow Americans, we address you tonight for one reason only: the President of the United States, having failed to get Mexico to pay for his ineffective, unnecessary border wall, and unable to convince the Congress or the American people to foot the bill, has shut down the government.
American democracy doesn’t work that way. We don’t govern by temper tantrum. No president should pound the table and demand he gets his way or else the government shuts down, hurting millions of Americans who are treated as leverage.
Tonight, and throughout this debate and his presidency, President Trump has appealed to fear, not facts. Division, not unity.
Make no mistake, Democrats and the President both want stronger border security. However, we sharply disagree with the President about the most effective way to do it.
So, how do we untangle this mess?
There is an obvious solution: separate the shutdown from the arguments over border security. There is bipartisan legislation, supported by Democrats and Republicans, to re-open government while allowing debate over border security to continue.
There is no excuse for hurting millions of Americans over a policy difference. Federal workers are about to miss a paycheck. Some families can’t get a mortgage to buy a new home. Farmers and small businesses won’t get loans they desperately need.
Most presidents have used Oval Office addresses for noble purposes. This president just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear, and divert attention from the turmoil in his Administration.
My fellow Americans, there is no challenge so great that our nation cannot rise to meet it. We can re-open the government and continue to work through disagreements about policy. We can secure our border without an expensive, ineffective wall. And we can welcome legal immigrants and refugees without compromising safety and security.
The symbol of America should be the Statue of Liberty, not a thirty-foot wall.
So our suggestion is a simple one: Mr. President, re-open the government and we can work to resolve our differences over border security. But end this shutdown now.
My response is as follows:
The optics of President Trump vs. the Democratic response should be quite apparent to most people. Last night we witnessed the stark reality of the Democratic Party. The Democrats have become an obstructionist party that are willing to do anything to stop President Trump from achieving an important political victory during his presidency.
Both Pelosi and Schumer wrap themselves in the United States flag whenever it suits their agenda but then promptly spit on said flag behind our backs.
Nancy Pelosi said that the government shutdown is senseless. Well, I totally agree with her assertion, especially since the Democrats are obstructing President Trump at every turn. As long as the Democrats remain being the obstructionists that they have become the partial government shutdown will stay in place. President Trump has been willing to negotiate with the Democrats, but they do not want to give him the time of day to get this problem resolved. President Trump has said that it could be solved with one 45-minute meeting between all of them.
She went on to say “The fact is, President Trump has chosen to hold hostage critical services for the health, safety and well-being of the American people and withhold the paychecks of 800,000 innocent workers across the nation, many of them veterans.” Nice try, Speaker Pelosi. Americans are completely sick and tired of your party using veterans as a pawn to get what you want to achieve politically. I know I am completely fed up with using American veterans in this manner.
I have a question, Speaker Pelosi… Why does the United States government give Israel, and other countries such as Jordan, money to build a wall if walls do not work? There are many reasons why you do not want a wall at the southern border. First, a wall is going to stop the flow of women and children being sold into sexual slavery through the amount of trafficking that the US Border Patrol has seen. Second, a wall is going to stop the flow of illegal drugs, as President Trump mentioned, into America to harm its citizens and legal permanent residents. Finally, a wall will eventually kill your voting base from people coming in and eventually gaining citizenship so they can vote for the Democratic Party from all the taxpayers’ money that you throw at them. I cannot emphasize this last point enough.
Chuck Schumer throws out the “temper tantrum” talking point as did Nancy Pelosi. Wanting to make sure that the United States of America has proper body security is not having a temper tantrum. President Trump, unlike most of the imbeciles in Congress, actually cares about the citizens and legal permanent residents in this nation. He has proven this time and time again through following through on most of his campaign promises. No president is perfect, but President Trump is the first president in my lifetime since President Reagan to actually do what he said he is going to do. This is something the Democrats cannot stand about him. He has shown that all the presidents since George H.W. Bush have been absolutely ineffective at getting anything substantial done to help the United States of America.
He went on to say that he wants the border security issue separated from the partial government shutdown. No, Senator Schumer, we do not want that, because we know President Trump will never receive any funding from the 116th Congress if that happens.
Senator Schumer said, “This president just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear, and divert attention from the turmoil in his Administration.” Really Senator? The crisis at the border is not manufactured; it is very real indeed. The only fear that some are seeing is from the sealed indictments that are going to drop very soon for the many evil crimes that some very sick people have committed against this nation. The Democratic Party has been diverting attention away from the real issues in this country with the fake Russian collusion investigation, etc.
Chuck Schumer went on to say, “The symbol of America should be the Statue of Liberty, not a thirty-foot wall.” I disagree with the Democrats here. Let us make it a fifty-foot wall.
Pelosi and Schumer want the government re-opened from the partial shutdown, so the Democrats can once again screw this country with no real solution to the immigration problems we face on a daily basis. We are being invaded not only from illegal aliens, but terrorists are also attempting to cross the southern border with Mexico since in reality it is like a sieve.
The real main reason why the Democrats do not want a proper physical structure at the southern border with Mexico is that it will eventually erode the Democratic voting base and their party will fade into history, because the Democrats no longer offer a viable choice at the ballot box.
Some people insist that President Trump does not have the authority to declare a national emergency. This is simply a lie and a diversionary tactic, from Democrats and RINOs, to hide the truth of what has been going on at the southern border with Mexico and elsewhere.
President Trump signed the following Executive Orders to deal with the reality he is facing as Commander-in-Chief.
1. E.O. 13818 (December 20, 2017) which involves blocking the property of persons involved in serious human rights abuse or corruption. Note: Refer to https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/12/26/2017-27925/blocking-the-property-of-persons-involved-in-serious-human-rights-abuse-or-corruption
2. E.O. 13848 (September 12, 2018) which involves imposing certain sanctions in the event of foreign interference in a United States election. Note: Refer to https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/09/14/2018-20203/imposing-certain-sanctions-in-the-event-of-foreign-interference-in-a-united-states-election
3. E.O. 13851 (November 27, 2018) which involves blocking property of certain persons contributing to the situation in Nicaragua. Note: Refer to https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/11/29/2018-26156/blocking-property-of-certain-persons-contributing-to-the-situation-in-nicaragua
My message to President Trump… Please, Mr. President, do not give in to the Democrats or RINOs (Republicans-In-Name-Only) in Congress. We, the American people, want a combination of a real border wall and technology to stop the flow of illegal aliens and terrorists into this country. You are correct in keeping the partial shutdown going until all parties involved come to their senses for the good of the American people.
I am a legal permanent resident originally from Canada. I care about proper border security, because I do not want any harm to come to any American citizen or legal permanent resident whatsoever. Soon, I am filing my application for US naturalization and I cannot wait to complete the process to become an American citizen. I love this country very much and always have since childhood. May God bless this beautiful country and its people.