President Donald Trump will visit the Mexican border on Thursday following his prime time address to the nation. It is unusual for a president to leave Washington, DC during a government shutdown but the border is central to the shutdown fight.
Trump did not declare a national emergency last night, despite much heated rhetoric from the President and his surrogates about the ‘border crisis’. It was reported before the speech that Trump had already backed down on the idea of an emergency, rendering his speech essentially a non-event.
“How much more American blood must we shed before Congress does its job?” Trump asked last night, echoing his campaign speeches on immigration. Trump famously claimed criminals and rapists are pouring into the US through the southern border and has continued to assert similar claims without evidence.
Trump’s speech has accomplished little: the government is still shut down, Democrats haven’t changed their position and the wall is still not being built. His impending visit to the border will likely be seen as a cynical PR stunt and is very unlikely to change anything.
The speech was carried by CNN, Fox News, CBS and NBC – despite strong criticism of the networks’ decision to run it. Many media personalities, including MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, called on the main TV networks not to carry a speech that would almost certainly contain lies.
The only person keeping the government partially shut down is President Trump. Democrats in the House have approved bills to re-open those parts of the government that are not operating, while Republicans in the Senate have previously voted for similar measures.