Transcript for SPECIAL REPORT: President Trump delivers prime-time address on border security
This is an ABC news special. A presidential address to the nation and the democratic response. Now reported George Stephanopoulos. Good evening were coming on the air right now because president trump is set to address the nation his first prime time speech from the Oval Office. It comes on the eighteenth day of a government shut down the second longest in our history. At the heart of the stalemate president Trump's campaign promise to build a wall along our border with Mexico. All through his run for the White House trump promise that Mexico pay for the wall from his very first speech at trump tower. But down. He's refusing to sign legislation that would fund nine of fifteen federal departments dozens of agencies. And most Democrats agree to more than five billion dollars in taxpayer funding. To start building that barrier. And with neither side budging the shutdown is starting to bite. National parks closed other programs curtailed some 800000 federal employees furloughed or working for free. Paycheck set to go out Friday will not be deliver. Presence can speak about eight minutes expected to argue the wall is needed to combat a national security and humanitarian crisis the border. Then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the top Democrat in the senate Chuck Schumer will respond for the Democrats. Here now. The president. My fellow Americans. Tonight I miss speaking to you because there is a growing humanitarian. And security crisis. And our southern border. Every day customs and Border Patrol agents encountered thousands of illegal immigrants trying to enter our country. We are out of space to hold them and we have no way to promptly returned them back home to their country. America proudly welcomes millions of lawful immigrants who it rich our society. And contribute to our nation. But all Americans are hurt by under controlled illegal. Migration. It strains public resources. And drives down jobs and wages among those hardest hit. Our African Americans and Hispanic Americans. Our southern border is a pipeline for a vast quantities of illegal drugs including meth heroin. Cocaine and Fenton. Every week 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone. 98%. 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 266000. Arrests. Of aliens with criminal records. Including those charged or convicted. Of 100000. Assaults. 30000. Sex crimes. And 4000. 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 souls. Last month 18000 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 dangers trekked up through Mexico. Women our 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 cycles. Of human suffering that I am determined. To end. My administration. Has presented congress when they 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 Contra. And and many other things. We have request. More agents. Immigration judges and bed space to processed a sharp rise and 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 you mainly be turned back home. Finally as part of an overall approach to border security. Law enforcement professionals have requested. Five point seven billion dollars 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 are 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 dollars a year. Vastly more than the five point seven billion dollars we have requested from congress. The wall will also be paid for indirectly. By the great new trade deal we have made with Mexico. Senator Chuck Schumer. School you will be hearing from later tonight. Has repeatedly supported a physical barrier in the past along with many other Democrats. They change their mind only after I was elected present. 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 remained 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 this situation. But the only solution is for Democrats to pass a spending bill that defends our borders and we opens 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 a moral. 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 the politicians. To do nothing and continued to allow more innocent people to be so horribly victimized. America's heart broke the day after Christmas. When a young police office in California was savagely merited. In cold blood by and illegal alien 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. And air force veteran was raped. Murdered. And beaten to death with a hammer. By an illegal alien within a long criminal history. In Georgia. And illegal alien was recently charged. With murder for killing be heading. And dismembering. His neighbor. In Merrill and MS thirteen gang members who arrived in the united stance. As unaccompanied minors were arrested and charged last year. After viciously stabbing and beating a sixteen year old. Over the last several years I've 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 father's. So soon. So terrible. I will never forget the pain in their eyes to tremble in their voices. And the sand is gripping their cells. How much more American blood. Must we shed before congress does its China. To 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 staff. When I took the oath of office I swore. To protect our country. And that is watt. I won't always do. So help me god. Thank you and good night. There you have it president trump wrapping up his first address from the Oval Office making a case for his border war calling the situation on our border crisis of the hard. A crisis of the source they can only be solved. If Democrats come to the table and approve more than five billion dollars. In funding for their border won't want to bring in our senior White House correspondent secede Vegas he'll start I would this idea crisis the president used that word several times. In the speech but the overall numbers of immigrants coming across their border far down from its peak. Just because you say it's crisis George doesn't necessarily make it once a let's go over a few facts here at precast apprehensions. Of illegal crossings as you say have been on the decline. For decades they have however been picking up in the last year and in recent months and that is something that this administration likes to hammer down hard on in repeatedly. Use in their talking points he also talked about. Did the number of drugs that are used in coming across this border but I've got to say virtually all heroin. Many fact checks have shown comes through legal points of entry we are hearing the president. Make the case to declare a national emergency that seems to be what's happening here but I gotta say George behind the scenes. Up until even late today's White House lawyers here we're still trying to figure out whether this is something he can actually do. Yeah he is not yet declared that he did not declare that in the speech and I want to bring in our chief White House correspondent John call. As blood shall we did have a mentioned the president the next go here for the while he repeated this claim. That somehow this Lou US Mexico free trade agreement is gonna make Mexico pay for the wall number one agreement has not been approved yet by congress even if it is. There's no there is no provision in there to make Mexico pay. For the wall. George there's actually no provision in that trade deal they would have Mexico pay for the wall is a relatively. Minor reworking of NAFTA. Some changes but not changes that bring in additional revenue from Mexico to pay for this wall and remember. That promise made by the president some 200 times during the campaign was a very direct one. It said Mexico would pay for the wall didn't say. In directly through a trade deal it said Mexico would pay for the long that is not happen. And I also want to bring in our senior congressional correspondent Mary Bruce there on Capitol Hill merry were about to hear from the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi democratic leader in the senate. Chuck Schumer the president saying there that only Democrats can solve this of right now there adamantly opposed to funding the war but he also added this claim. Didier he has we he has changed his calls for the wall to a steel barrier at the request of Democrats he says. Yeah and I'm told that's simply not true look at Democrats appear on the hill say it doesn't matter what. This is made up whether it's steel slats are the concrete wallet the president long promised Democrats simply are not going to spend five point seven billion in taxpayer dollars. To build this wall the White House continues to insist this as a concession that the president put on the table that simply is not how Democrats seed in a matter what it's made up it's not going to be enough. To get Democrats to cave of budge here whatsoever toward. At least not yet we are about to hear from the Democrats were here from the house speaker Nancy bush and we should also say. That the president has invited. The eight top congressional leaders to come to the White House tomorrow morning for another meeting the first negotiation. In days but there's no sign yet. This negotiations going to go anywhere we're now gonna go to the capitol House Speaker Nancy Pelosi democratic leader Chuck Schumer. Good evening. I appreciate the opportunity. To speak directly to the American people tonight about how we can and they shut down and meet the needs of the American people. Sadly. Much of what we heard from president come throughout this sense of 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 be open government and fun Smart effective border security solutions. But the present rules rejecting these bipartisan bills which would reopen government. Over his obsession with what forcing American taxpayers. To waste billions of dollars on an expensive and ineffective while. A wall he always promised Mexico would pay for. The fact is. President trump has chosen to hold hostage critical services that health safety and well being of the American people. And withhold paychecks of 800000. Innocent workers across the nation. Many of them veterans. He promised to keep government shut down for months or years and my only hurts that's just plain wrong. The fact is we all agree we need to secure our borders while honoring our values. We can build the infrastructure roads and our ports of entry we can install new technology to skin cars and trucks for drugs coming into our nation. But can hire the personnel we need to facilitate trade and immigration at the border with can find more innovation to detect unauthorized crossings. The fact is that women and children at the pleasure I'm not a security threat. They are humanitarian challenge a challenge to president Trump's own cool and counterproductive policies. Have only deepened. And the fact is. President trauma staff holding American people hostage might stop manufacturing. A crisis. And must reopen the government. Thank you. The Eshleman. 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. I shut down the government. American democracy doesn't work that way we don't governed by temper tantrum. No president should pound the table and demand he gets his way. Or else the government shut Stan hurting millions of Americans who are treated as leverage. Tonight. And throughout this debate and throughout his presidency. President trump has appeal to fear not facts. Division. Are unity. Make no mistake. Democrats and the president both warned stronger border security. However we sharply disagree with the president about the most effective way to do what. So how do we untangle this mess. Well there's an obvious solution. Separate the shut down from arguments over border security. There is bipartisan legislation supported by Democrats and Republicans. To reopen government. While allowing debate over border security to continue. There's 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 from noble purposes. This president just use the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis. Stoked fears. And divert attention from the turmoil in his administration. My fellow Americans there's no challenge so great that our nation cannot rise to meet it. We can reopen the government and continue to work through disagreements over policy. We can secure our border with out an ineffective. Expensive Walt. 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. Mr. President. Reopen the government and we can work to resolve our differences over border security. But and this shut down now. I. So there you've had we've heard from the Pressley for from the Democrats it sure does not sound. Think we're gonna get a compromise any time soon we're gonna return match for regular programming. For many in the west that is world news tonight with David Muir and our source reports can continue right now and ABC news live that's are 24/7 streaming channel. And abcnews.com much more tonight on Nightline. Chelsea DiMaggio that. This has been a special. From ABC.
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