In Oval Office speech, Trump demands a wall

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on January 9, 2019 - Duration: 01:58s

In Oval Office speech, Trump demands a wall

President Donald Trump urges Congress in a televised speech to give him $5.7 billion this year to help build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico but stopped short of declaring a national emergency to pay for the barrier with military funds.

Grace Lee reports.

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In Oval Office speech, Trump demands a wall

Donald Trump faced the nation on Tuesday (January 8), making a public case for his border wall in his first ever prime-time address.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SAYING: "This is a choice between right and wrong." The U.S. President broadened his message about illegal immigration, saying that it hurts ALL Americans.

He claimed again that many immigrants crossing the border are criminals, who bring drugs into the U.S. Trump faces resistance in Congress from Democrats, but he repeated his call for lawmakers to give him 5.7 billion dollars to help build the wall- and keep quote 'illegal aliens' out.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SAYING: "How much more American blood must we shed before congress does its job?" But Trump stopped short of declaring a national emergency after he hinted for days he may use his presidential powers to do it.

It would have been a first step toward directing money for the wall without congressional approval.

Instead - he says he's willing to work towards a solution with congress and he's already got one in mind: (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SAYING: "But the only solution is for Democrats to pass a spending bill that defends our borders and reopens the government." The speech came on Day 18 of a partial government shutdown over the wall.

Trump also claimed that wall would be paid for in part by a new trade deal with Mexico, and that - at the request of democrats - he's agreed to a steel barrier, rather than a concrete one.

Immediately after his address, Democrats fired back.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI "The President has chosen fear.

We want to start with the facts.

And the fact is: President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis, and must re-open the government." Trump is scheduled to visit the border with Mexico on Thursday (January 10), and even after his address, its not clear whether he may still declare a national emergency.

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