Trump calls border security a 'crisis of the soul'

President Donald Trump used his first Oval Office address to the nation to urge Congress to address what he called a "growing humanitarian and security crisis" at the southern border.
4:26 | 01/09/19

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Transcript for Trump calls border security a 'crisis of the soul'
We want to get right to that first prime time address from the oval office, president trump making the case for his border wall. He called on Democrats to fund it and declared it a humanitarian crisis making a series of misleading claims, was stopped short of declaring a national emergency. But he did double down on his demands as the government shutdown hits day 19 with no end in sight. Democratic leaders immediately fired back accusing the president of playing politics spreading falsehoods and even throwing a temper tantrum. The gulf between the two sides wider than ever. Cecilia Vega has all the latest. Good morning, Cecilia. Reporter: Good morning to you. The president heads to capitol hill today to try to make his case yet again and leaders from the house and the senate in both parties will be back here at the white house for yet another meeting. In the situation room to try to hammer all of this out but that speech last night brought both sides nowhere near closer to reaching a deal to end this shutdown. My fellow Americans -- Reporter: In his prime time address, president trump appealing directly to the American people for his border wall buttoing short of declaring a national emergency to pay for it. The federal government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only, because Democrats will not fund border security. Reporter: In his ten-minute speech riddled with factual inaccuracies the president argued there is a crisis at the southern border. This is a humanitarian crisis, a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul. Every day customs and border patrol agents encounter thousands of illegal immigrants trying to enter our country. Reporter: But in reality total apprehensions of illegal crossers have plunged in recent decades though ticked up O the past year still at historic lows. The president also pointed to drug trafficking to make his case. 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% of which floods across from our southern border. Reporter: Yes, 90% of heroin does come across the southern border but almost all of it comes through legal points of entry and a border wall would not stop it and about that campaign promise -- I guarantee you, folks, that Mexico is going to pay for the wall. The wall will also be paid for indirectly by the great new trade deal we have made with Mexico. Reporter: But that is false. There is no evidence the president's revised nafta agreement would do that and congress still needs to approve it. How much more American blood must we shed before congress does its job? Reporter: It seems his fight with congress and the shutdown will end no time soon. Appearing side by side at the same podium democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and chuck Schumer demanded equal air time for their own rebuttal. The fact is president trump must stop holding the American people hostage. Must stop manufacturing a crisis and must re-open the government. 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 fromhe turmoil in his administration. Reporter: All right, we have one more fact check. The president also claimed that at the request of Democrats, the wall shoule steel rather than concrete. That's not true. The Democrats have always opposed this wall and they did not propose steel over concrete. George, the president will be heading to the border on Thursday. Border on Thursday. On capitol hill today. What we did not hear is any mention of this declaration of a national emergency. That's still on the table for the president but quite controversial. Reporter: Oh, so controversial, George, you're right. Exactly zero mentions of national emergency at all in the speech last night but he definitely seems to be making the case for it. We know white house lawyers were here until late yesterday trying to figure out whether the declaration is even legal. But as you say there is major division even among the president's even allies. Some Republicans say this is not the right way to go and Democrats and many others are promising a legal challenge if he decides to go that route. Cecilia Vega, thanks very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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