President Donald Trump announced on Friday that the government would reopen for a period of three weeks. His address took place in the White House Rose Garden and ended the longest government shutdown in United States history.
The deal in place would reopen the government until February 15th and require a vote in the Senate before it goes to the House. According to a USA Today reporter, a Democratic aide claimed that the bill would not include money for the wall but instead a “provision to backpay furloughed employees”.
Despite his feuds with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi the past few weeks, Trump also largely framed his address as a call for bipartisanship within Congress.
“I have heard from Democrats and Republicans that they are willing to put partisanship aside, I think”
The President claimed that the wall was necessary to protect Americans and was, therefore, an issue that all political parties should be concerned with. For Trump, the border wall along the Southern border would protect against dangers of gang members and human trafficking traveling north into the United States. His claims and focus on criminals also fall in line with his long history of fearmongering amongst his voter base. The President was quick to point to the “266,000 criminal aliens inside of the United States” that ICE had apparently arrested within the past two years, but gave little acknowledgment to the numerous asylum-seekers being detained at the border, including the children he had ordered to be separated from their families.
He also stated that people were coming to this country because of the strong economy under his presidency but that the nation could not handle the influx due to poor immigration laws. In touching on the presence of undocumented immigrants in the nation, he framed the issue as affecting the everyday lives of Americans, stating that “You catch them even if they are criminals, you then release them and you can’t release them from where they came so they go into our country and end up in places where you would least expect.”
“We really have no choice but to build a powerful wall or steel barrier,” said President Trump in the Rose Garden. “If we don’t get a deal from Congress the government will shut down on February 15th again or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the Constitution of the United States to address this emergency. We will have great security.”
For President Trump, his biggest ally in securing his border wall is the fear he incites in his supporters. Until the border wall is built, he will continue to tell Americans that they will suffer hardships because of the presence of immigrants in this nation. However, the question remains as to whether or not he is willing to declare a national emergency for his own motivations.