This Tuesday night, for the first time while in office, President Donald Trump addressed the nation during primetime, falsely claiming there to be a crisis at the southern U.S. border warranting his refusal to approve any government funding without billions for a border wall. Congressional Democrats delivered a quickly announced rebuttal to the president’s tirade of lies. New House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) both spoke, offering that:
‘Sadly much of what we heard from President Trump… has been full of misinformation and malice. The president has chosen fear… The president is rejecting these bipartisan bills that would reopen government… [he] has chosen to hold hostage critical services… we all agree we need to secure our borders while honoring our values… The women and children at the border are not a security threat.’
As Schumer put it:
‘The symbol of America should be the Statue of Liberty, not a 30 foot wall.’
The nationally televised back and forth unfolded on the majority of the nation’s major networks after Democratic leaders demanded an opportunity to respond to Trump’s address. The response ran on ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC while on cable it showed up on MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, and Fox Business.
The government shutdown at the center of the turmoil is approaching its third full week, as hundreds of thousands of government workers remain indefinitely without pay and crucial government services remain unperformed. The effects range from potential lapses in food stamps coverage for millions of Americans to gaps in oversight of the aviation industry across the United States, which doesn’t exactly lend itself to being open to proceeding freely. Air travel is high stakes.
Yet, despite this and other issues, Trump remains steadfast in his commitment to continuing the shutdown. He’s said he’s willing to have the shutdown last for months or even years. The Trump team is so committed to their political line that they did not even fully understand the scope of the shutdown they’ve mired the government in when they jumped in. Weeks after the shutdown began, senior administration officials told The Washington Post that they “were focused now on understanding the scope of the consequences and determining whether there is anything they can do to intervene.”
The hundreds of thousands of workers facing indefinite periods of no pay certainly understand “the scope of the consequences.”