President Trump announced there is a humanitarian crisis at our southern board Tuesday night in a presidential address. He is unwilling to support a spending bill proposed by Democrats that doesn’t include $5.7 billion in funding for a steel barrier along the border shared by the U.S. and Mexico. The president insisted that he will keep the government shut down for as long as it takes for Democrats to support his plan. His address was followed by a response from Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.
“When I took the oath of office, I swore to protect our country,” said Trump. “And that is what I will always do, so help me God.”
Students at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) expressed their thoughts on the speech.
Alexa Cooley is a political science major who disagrees with the president.
“I think he used a lot of scare tactics and made a lot of grandiose claims that were not exactly true,” said Cooley. “He exploited victims of these crimes for his own gain in crafting the narrative that these immigrants are dangerous, and they aren’t. They are just searching for a better life.”
Steve Kwasny graduated from EMU last year and is a former member of the College Democrats. He disagreed with the president’s strategies to increase border security.
“If you really cared about America you wouldn’t be holding 400,000 people hostage,” said Kwasny. “He presented a few valid points with trouble processing everyone but building a steel structure isn’t going to solve anything.”
Reid Scott is a member of Student Government and a journalism major who agreed with the president’s policies.
“I thought President Trump was very articulate in getting his point across,” said Sen. Scott. “That was a huge chunk of why he was elected.”
Allison Drewyour, who is majoring in athletic training, felt that the president did a better job speaking on this issue than he had on past issues, even though she didn’t agree with his solution.
“I would say that it’s the most eloquent that I’ve ever heard him speak on any issue,” Drewyour said. “I’m not for building a big whole wall, but I definitely think that we need to do something to get more border control.”
Anthony Cocuzza found the speech to be lacking in substance. Cocuzza is the Vice President of the College Republicans and a criminology major.
“In the entire speech he talks very little about policy, and for the little time that he speaks about it, he speaks in broad terms about what is going to be funded,” said Cocuzza. “I understand that we are not going to nationally televise how we’re going to police our borders, but in terms of policy there was not much there.”
Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi issued a rebuttal following the president’s remarks.
“The president has chosen fear. We want to start with the facts,” said Rep. Pelosi.
The Democratic leaders agree that border security is an issue that should be debated, but not at the cost of a government shutdown. They feel new technology and personnel at the border is more important than a border wall.
“The symbol of America should be the statue of liberty, not a 30-foot wall,” said Sen. Schumer.
Caleb Salame, a student majoring in accounting and marketing, felt that Trump’s comments were too focused on attacking Democrats.
“My first thought was how much it felt like he was dividing us, because he was very clearly calling out the Democrats,” Salame said.
The House of Representatives passed spending bills Wednesday that would fund some agencies affected by the shutdown but are expected to fail in a Republican controlled Senate. Schumer continues expressed his optimism that both bills would pass with bipartisan support if Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put them on the floor.
President Trump has insisted on using his veto power if the bills pass, with no sign of a two-thirds majority to overrule the veto.