9:00 P.M. EST
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jan. 7, 2019) — At approximately 1:40 PM EST, President Trump tweeted that he will be addressing the American people on Tuesday at 9:00 PM about the “Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border.”
The announcement came after a partial government shutdown entered its 17th day following a breakdown in negotiations between Congress and the White House on funding for the barrier on the nation’s border with Mexico which Trump wants to erect or improve.
After many members of the House of Representatives had left for the Christmas break, the then-Republican-led lower congressional chamber returned to session and passed a last-minute appropriations bill with $5.7 billion for a border wall. Trump had requested a minimum of $5 billion, down from an earlier figure of $25 billion, for border security, which he believes is part of his overall mission of “national security.”
However, the U.S. Senate did not have the requisite number of votes to approve the House measure, and appropriations for approximately 25% of government agencies expired at midnight on December 21, 2018.
The Senate, which remained in Republican hands after the 2018 midterm elections under the leadership of Mitch McConnell, will reportedly not consider any bills passed by either chamber which do not meet Trump’s $5 billion requirement for border funding.
Over the weekend, Trump met with White House advisors, and Vice President Mike Pence conducted negotiations with congressional leaders on possible points of compromise given that the new House leadership is opposed to a border “wall.” Trump has said he will not sign any appropriations bill which does not fund a border wall aimed at reducing illegal crossings, human trafficking and illicit drug shipments coming over the U.S.-Mexico border.
Democrats, who now have the majority in the House of Representatives, claim that a wall would be ineffective, inefficient, and “immoral.” Before departing the White House for Camp David on Sunday morning, Trump suggested that a compromise could come in the form of a “steel barrier” for which he would seek out U.S. steel companies to construct.
On Monday morning, Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware told “Fox & Friends” that the move from a concrete “wall” to a “steel barrier” was a major change in his mind which could pave the way for compromise between members of his party and the White House.
On Friday, the first full day of the 116th Congress, the House passed an appropriations bill aimed at reopening shuttered portions of the government but without any funding for a wall. Democrats say that Congress previously allocated more than $1.6 billion to the Trump administration for border security which remains unused, a claim the left-leaning Washington Post disputes.
At a press conference in the Rose Garden Friday, Trump suggested that he could declare the situation at the southern border a “national emergency” rising to the level of action he could take without Congress. On Saturday evening, he tweeted, without further elaboration, “The Wall Is Coming.”
As of this writing, he has not offered more detail on his address on Twitter.
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.