Trump makes case for border wall in national address

President Trump says the government is still shut down because Democrats will not fund border security.
23:42 | 01/08/19

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Transcript for Trump makes case for border wall in national address
And thanks George thanks so much a great to have you with us here at ABC news live interment our deputy political director Mary Alice parks there heard it. I from the president as George was saying a softening of tone perhaps for the president has teased by the White House. But certainly not the position Mary Alice the president digging in. On the shut down claim that this is discussion of a border crisis is he describing Democrats saying they're willing to work with the president on security. But not until they reopen the government. The president has softened his home when it came to describing what a barrier on the southern border would look like. But it wasn't a soft speech it was a very grim dark speech a painting a picture of a crime rate in the United States. And really accusing Democrats of not being willing to invest in border security of course then Democrats followed up by saying they were willing to invest in border security. But that the wall was a symbol that they were not willing to get. Behind part something that has divided this town. I now since trump took office some two years ago 719 days to be exact let's take a listen to that central claim. I that you were tied talking about Mary Alice the president accusing the Democrats of not supporting. Border security take a listen. 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. It's not so quick fact check with that if you're just step following along here Mary Alice Democrats. I just earlier this year earlier land last year as well voted for in favor of increasing its funds for border security in fact just over a billion dollars. But it's the wall that's the staking much the president. I'm not quite accurate in in their claim and as we heard from Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer they wanted to do this they're not in favor of the wall they are willing. Let's talk about some of these measures to stem the tide of drugs. Crime along the border the influx of migrant farm families which we've seen up off is that significant numbers right now. But it would get devil's in the details but in particular post the wall. Read the president's talking about steel slats of census doesn't need to be concrete. But any conversation of the wall has cemented democrats' opposition they are talking about this being a symbol that they see as fundamentally un American. You heard. Leader Schumer is there saying that the symbol of America should be the statue of liberty not a thirty foot barrier. They are totally dug in behind the idea that there will not be funding for a physical barrier on the wall. But these are they want to come to the table and what don't want those other agencies held hostage. They want to open the other agencies and you saw the president sort of hinted that two. You get the sense of both parties know they have to start working together I mean that's how works you have to compromise in divided government. If we're going to get those federal employees and their paycheck. Yeah it's clear 800000. Federal workers across the country not just in this town. Face seen no paychecks as soon as Friday that's the first pay period a since the shutdown began eighteen days ago so there is this an increased sense of urgency in this town. Over those paychecks in the financial bite from the shutdown is really about to hit even harder. We do no that the president is inviting those leaders to the White House tomorrow be the first time since last week that Nancy Pelosi Chuck Schumer. How will go there to negotiate let's go to the White House right now our senior our White House correspondent Cecilia Vega is reporting Cecilia. Eight give us the view from there right now there was a lot riding on this un moment for president trump his first major Oval Office address. They made clear that he was intending to use this a moment as a point of leverage to get those Democrats on board. What's your sense of early reaction if you hear anything so far. Yeah the president really using the bully pulpit and and using it as easy from the first time from the Oval Office during a prime time address we know that he was. Working on this speech adolescent today and and frankly that behind the scenes here. At the White House has lawyers have really been heavily the White House lawyers I should say have been heavily involved in trying to figure out whether the president can actually declare. A national emergency when it comes to the border or national crisis when it comes to the border. And the situation there even that was what we were looking for going into this would he or would he not make that actual declaration which we now know he has not. But as you guys have been saying. There is no ends to this shutdown fight there is no end to this discussion of who or who will not be paying for. The wall and will there'll be a wall built. You know I have got to sink because you call it a crisis doesn't necessarily make it a crisis and the president came into this frankly with the credibility crisis. He had he en and his team had been using a number of false statements to train. And sell this notion of a five point seven billion dollar funding for his border wall. And and frankly there were as you guys have just been pointing out a number of falsehoods issued yet again tonight. Cecilia Vega the White House thanks so much much more coming up from you on GMA tomorrow let's go to Capitol Hill now where our senior congressional correspondent. I'm Mary Bruce is standing by she's tracking the other side of the story Mary. I give us any early reaction you're hearing from lawmakers have their eyes tell us about terrain perhaps an ominous sign of what's coming tomorrow. But you know for Democrats this is a big deal as well the steal some of the national spotlight tonight in prime primetime to counter the president. They really pushed back on these claims that they're not about border security. And you heard from the democratic leaders are why they felt this was so important things that they they demanded equal time because they public the president's statement was full of malice and information but is just remarkable. That once again we have both sides outlining very clearly their position. But absolutely no glimmers of many middle ground or compromised. In fact what's really astounding is that as the shutdown has dragged on now in day eighteen impasse has only deepening debt and you heard some Democrats. They are previewing what's to comment is that they are going to continue as long as they shut down last. To try and force Republicans hands forced the president by ramping up the pressure continuing to pass measures that would. Reopen the government but not provide that that five point seven million of the billion the president asking for for his wall. And it really trying to to put the pressure on if McConnell the senate Republican leader today. They essentially brought the business of the senate to a screeching halt. By saying that they are not gonna pass any other legislation until ms. McConnell agrees to bring up a measure that would fund the government. The Mitch McConnell has made very clear he will do no such thing do not bring up any funding bill until he is sure that the president will get on board. But Mary one of the things that has changed. Just in the past 24 hours a number of cracks in their senate Republican conference we started to see. A number of Republicans start to hint that they could move. Toward supporting Democrats in reopening the government movement towards Nancy Pelosi is argument tonight of all things. And we are tracking these members very closely because it's becoming increasingly clear that a lot of Republicans are simply getting very uncomfortable when they shot down especially as many of their constituents begin to feel the real impact. Of this they are not handful of Republicans many of them are up for reelection in point one England said they think it is time to reopen the government with or without. The funding for the president's Walt the president seems well aware of this which is one of the reasons why the the president will be here on the hill tomorrow meeting with rank and file senate Republicans to drive presumably to get them in line. Behind his vipers border while. Yeah up on the hill before hosting that summit the White House labor's thanks so much get inside stay dry appreciate your reporting. Our return on by ABC news pitcher Jon Cohen former DHS official John we were talking during the speech. A couple of striking facets there the president didn't mention the wall until about five minutes into the speech he made no mention. Of the terrorists claim which is tripped up the administration the past few days. Yeah I found that really interest earning around one he seemed to be talking much more about the concept of border security which is a combination. People technology and some barriers were makes sense. And he sounded quite frankly fight some of the Democrats on Capitol Hill who have been talking about the concept of border security. And it was very stark no mention of terrorism and I think in large part that has to do with the skepticism. That is and that the secretary of homeland security and department must remind us what what is the truth on the terrorism factoid that are our terrorists come across our cross from Mexico have there been any caught what do what's worth sexual bottom line since September 11 intelligence officials into border security officials. Have always speculated the terrorist groups would try to go into Mexico going to Central America and sneak into the country to conduct attacks but what we have found is that just not the case. On the hidden in part it's because it's difficult to get here from there. Com and secondly they know that we have a lot of border security so there's easier ways for them to get in the country so. Even this administrations that date data and intelligence. As stated very clearly that there just is not a large flow of terrorist coming. We want America. We're talking earlier about the tone of the president's speech there. And he laid into a lot of really graphic brutal T tells some crimes committed by illegal immigrants and during the speech you are talking about how the impression an implication. Was perhaps. Not trail that the immigrants don't commit crimes at a different rate it. Explain that to us. Yeah the rhetoric of this administration would suggest that immigrants and in particular illegal immigrants are responsible for. You know most of the violent crime facing our country and statistics incarceration rates crime reporting just that's not the case do they they paint a very different picture. In fact immigrants and even illegal immigrants. Are responsible for much less crime the native born people in jobs and before we let you go I it's great to have your perspective because you've studied the border issues for so many years spent. A lot of time down there obviously know very well that do Border Patrol agents and others who who patrol that area and it. Is it even possible to have us entirely secure border I mean are we chasing a mythical. You know ideal here that this thing could be completely sealed I mean. It does seem that from Democrats rational Republicans you do hear that a certain point there is a lot of hype here we do pretty good job keeping it contained. Not your win is enough enough. Well we need to secure border we need to stop terrorists and criminals and drugs from coming into. The country and we need tend to stop illegal immigration from coming across the border in their humanitarian issues that need to be addressed. But border professional law enforcement professionals we'll tell you it's a combination of several thinks it's good intelligence knowing how the traffickers and smugglers operate. Is using that intelligence to develop adaptive strategies some cases it's using barriers in some cases it's using sensors technology. In other cases it's putting more people on the border fence being able to adapter 'cause he put barrier in one place the smugglers and traffickers are gonna go to a different place. And if they can't get across the land border they're gonna simply go to the Atlantic Ocean the Pacific Ocean the Caribbean so the problem here is that if you put all your money. And put most of your resources. It into building a large barrier across the large land areas that's money that's not going to be available for the programs to restore the capabilities that we need to address the problems are. Boring conversation that needs to be had hopefully Fuller conversation once the government reopens. And congress is actually able to function. Foley and holy in this town of all the agencies participating in that warehouse Park City political director thanks so much your analysis. Tomorrow morning in the note at abcnews.com always great to have Jon Cohen here with us. You know are we have an entire team here at ABC news in the Washington bureau of it's been fact checking this debate since it's been raging. Over the past few weeks and want to take you inside. BBC news stacked team here right now didn't you we have a whole host of experts and ABC news that cover. Everything from Pennsylvania Avenue that's the congress in the White House to the Justice Department. We have on a global affairs unit as well that covers the State Department all these experts tonight have been taking a look at. A number the claims that have been bandied about by both sides in this border wall debate. Seeking to get to the bottom of and I want to bring in one of our experts right now this is just an official. He coordinates are Pennsylvania Avenue team he's been looking at seven good to see your body he's the look at that a number. Claims tonight by president trump. And let's start this this this big one and out is it an emergency it was the open. Clay Wright the opening claim from the president is that ST he's not because there's a growing humanitarian and security crisis our southern border. That spin the debate is there really a crisis it depends. On how you're measuring it it. You are measuring the crisis by the flow of migrants alone. It's hard to say that now is a crisis compared to what we've seen before. For example in 2001. Under George Bush there were one point six million. Migrants flowing across the border India and memories these are numbers from the Department of Homeland Security from the customs and Border Patrol across so. In under Obama those dropped significantly. We're talking 500000. Hovered around there and now under trump. His first year we saw just over 300000. Apprehensions at the border the significant drop but the key here is that number one up. About 90000. After his first year in office he did not like that he is focused on that he is calling a crisis but you have to look at the bigger picture. Is it a crisis compared to what we've seen true historically over the past two decades. I can tell you the numbers are way. Whale hours crisis emergency that terminology could somewhat be any kind of holding the numbers tell very interest in story when you look 1020 years out. Very low inflows of undocumented migrants right now and now the other and it was a quick. You know concise he had the he had well scripted. Remarks and I which is is not always the case now but the but the other one that he has repeated. A number of times that we found was that the US MCA that this new trade deal that he might Mexico was supposed to pay for the long. The president tonight and imply again. I mean the basic one that is that if Mexico is paying for why are we having this special why is the government shutdown why are we holding this whole thing up. Until we get taxpayer dollars imports so. But the but the bottom line is that the US MCA deal itself has not been approved by congress congress needs to get that done first. Before anyone has this deal for. It's going to be hard to tie. Whatever savings you might interpret from that on trade to choose to do government coffers to paying for the wall itself so its yeah different the other night. That there was an indirect. Perez you an indirect payment. By Mexico we'll see that the hotly debated one and perhaps a campaign promise. That is still yet unfulfilled obviously. Since it hasn't been agreed to by congress thanks for coming over Larson and we know you have. In fact check Friday as a regular furniture that is an ABC news' Diane arms reread and that there thanks so much already well it's not just the Capitol Hill and White House units that are tracking fact checking some of these statements that we have our Justice Department team. This is our guy at the Justice Department Jack got taken to see a jacket thief you are our senior producer covering all of these agencies DHS Border Patrol. And the like and you're paying close attention tonight to some of the presence claims about drugs coming into this country what would it be found. This clever largely accurate so he he cited several drugs meth heroin cocaine and fentanyl. Flowing over the border in large quantities in their tracks exactly with what that did you days without 128 teen drug threat assessment report that. That's where the drugs are coming from largely through the soft southwest border however. The coming in through ports of entry largely as well. So those search of illegal entry points this morning rush or come in and I'm not through the desert here's what has some better certainly commend the desert as well. But according to two Yale large amount of it is coming through. Legal ports of entry being smuggling. Through vehicles succession vehicles and gas tanks in in other compartments in passenger vehicles also shipped in containers. Entered through commerce so stashed in vegetable sordid furniture other things that are coming in. But through Mexico. And what you seen Jack in terms of the didn't build the leveled the amount of drugs coming in the president seems to say on Madison and admits of no PR crisis Sanofi an epidemic right now. Is that because of Mexico is because of the drugs coming in from the southern border orbits. Mexican cartels largely controlled fairly traded in this country and and most of the tracks apparently is coming in. From Mexico up to the southwest borders that's certainly true. Other hopefully calculate so make it's little more murky because. That fentanyl which is really driving the debt crisis that we have not looking for real crisis fentanyl is a real crisis that's that's driving by the overdose deaths in this country and when president says. The number of both overdose deaths exceeded the number of people that died in Vietnam War. He's right about that at that first happened when he sixteen happen again and points MTV it's expected to increase again in 28 team according to law enforcement source I talked to so. Yet it's it's sitting it's a big problem everybody agrees it's a problem when it comes to the wall while well so. When it comes to wall and also complicate problems so it's also come from China Burma and increasing need in order being order on the dark wet and it's been. Ship by parcel carrier so give. Via FedEx DHL. US mail other things like that. Two of the people's doorsteps and so if the border was not gonna help that problem at all and you did it that's that's becoming a more thorny problem and accomplish it. General thanks for doctors jeopardy a lot of work left to do tonight thank you so much for all these fact checks from Jack Justin in the entire team. I hear it ABC news good abcnews.com download the app we've got a full fact check going right now both the Democrats. A statements tonight and the Republicans the president's statements we'll keep that going. Through the rest of the week meantime 800000. Federal workers and we've been we've been saying tonight and watching these speeches in primetime play out concerned about their paychecks. Thousands of contract workers in addition the businesses that rely on these people here ABC news we've been talking to a number. People impacted by this shut down here are some of their voices now. Ultimately at the end of the day there's not a lot of accidents and locked out of my job I want to go to work out want to do. My job and I've been presented to do you from doing. You're able to work you made a commitment to this job. In the middle right now I think your bosses which is is to fulfill their part. You can that sits in this really you know. Shuttle I may be at the food made with the next guy. Trying to get something because being you know you run out of money if the checks are coming in that means there's no money I have all of these other things that are going on in my life. You know and now I have to worry about not getting a check we'll be honest actually Google over. In list if that's what our Google was right days it's safe to go Canada necks and around so I did is went I don't have. Multi million dollars you know in the bank out of my family that has I don't have friends that have the kind of resources. You can actually decide not to work and it's going to be okay. And we'll keep checking in with so many of our viewers who have been impacted by the shut down if you know of anyone impacted you have a story to share. Join us at abcnews.com. Slash politics we have a shot down. Portal there we love you to share that story with this we can get in touch with you I'm meantime it's not just the workers here across the country who are watching tonight said developments but those living along border communities along the southwest border which is ground zero for this debate. That's for senior national correspondent Matt Gutman is right now he's been reporting today from here although we do Hidalgo Texas. There with the wall right behind him part of the fence there I guess that already exists Matt. Give us your big take away from the speech tonight and that what you've been hearing from folks down in that community. I think the president Kevin DeVon would call the steel slats and they are in their pretty formidable and pretty robust and now about. Twenty sound feet high we've been trying to measure. I was actually surprised at the president's speech it was interned in turns. Very methodical and also quite gory at times we started talking about. The carnage caused by what he said were the killers and rapists and the people come across the border to wreak Havoc in the United States that's exactly the message that we've been getting. From customs and Border Patrol officials who are talking about. Eight crisis here at the border but not specifically. A crisis of of numbers this is not the one point six million. Migrants who crossed into the United States from Mexico mostly in 2001 we're talk about 360. 1000 who crossed. And these are most mostly Central American migrants mostly families with children 22000. Children. In the month of December alone and this is what Customs and Border Protection is dealing with right now what they're asking for. Our resource is to deal with this they need. More medics they need better facilities more beds to house these people who they detained. Many of them women children. And some of them older people so it's a very different crisis in the one that the president. Talked about but one that does need to be dealt with. And one in which Customs and Border Protection and immigration and customs enforcement have said that they urgently need help with and more resources board's well. All right meg coming thanks so much for your reporting Matt I really important perspective down their from the border we know you'll continue. Our reporting for all ABC news platforms tomorrow morning Good Morning America as well I want to go to art political director Rick Klein now was the washing. Tonight's coverage and of course watch the speech by president trump and the Democrats as well let's bring in Rick Klein Rick. I wanted to go to you for your big picture take right now. You as we've been discussing tonight here doesn't seem all that much has seen has changed it did in the needle doesn't appear to have moved. But were he thinks things will stand tomorrow morning and going forward with this today. Well right now we don't have a national emergency but we do have a political emergency for president trump and I think he came through. In the massively different tact if you try this was it a different president trying out a different bag of tricks I think in an acknowledgment. That he hasn't been able to move things practically begging Democrats succumb to the table but not showing any likelihood. To negotiate on his own. And it felt to me like the president is recognizing that what he has done so far in this. Throw into his own frustration has not worked and he is technology that he is. At this point playing a losing hand and how that spills over into tomorrow when he meets with. Democrats and Republicans at the White House will be interest think. As interest thing. Potentially will be when he meets with senate Republicans because as you've noted there are cracks in that so called wall of support that the president has been able to enjoy inside his own Republican Party. That could be a major problem for him politically to me this is a president that recognizes that he just isn't winning right now. However Klein thinks so much for your analysis we may up much more tomorrow morning. In the notes at abcnews.com. Eakins follow the note and all of its political coverage. Of course on the ABC news happens well Rick thank you for that take you so much for watching our special coverage here tonight of the president's address to the nation and the democratic response if you missed. Any of the speeches from the president's and the Democrats are fact check an analysis your ABC news you can catch more river right now. Starting now.

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

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