Donald Trump's Prime-time Immigration Address

Donald Trump's Prime-time Immigration Address

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Updated Jan 09, 2019 at 05:26PM EST by 3kole5.

Added Jan 09, 2019 at 12:32PM EST by Matt.

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Overview

Donald Trump's Prime-time Immigration Address occurred on January 8th, 2019. In his speech, President Trump spoke directly to United States citizens on several major networks about the 2018-19 government shutdown over immigration and what he referred to as a "humanitarian crisis" at the U.S.-Mexico border, making the case of his promised border wall. His nine-minute speech was widely accused of containing several misleading statements and falsehoods. Following the speech, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer rebutted the speech on the same networks.

Background

On January 8th, 2019, during a government shutdown, which began because President Trump refused to fund the government without $5 billion for the southern border wall, Trump delivered a speech from the Oval Office about what he called a "humanitarian crisis" at the United States southern borderer. [1] The speech aired on several networks, including NBC, ABC, CBS and more.

Following the speech, Democrats refuted Trump's statements. In their rebuttal, Pelosi and Schumer called Trump's wall an "immorality" and said that Trump was holding the American government and the American people "hostage" over this border wall. Schumer said that Trump used the Oval Office address to "manufacturer a crisis, stoke fear and divert attention from the turmoil in his administration."[2]



Developments

Fact Check

Following the speech, many outlets fact-checked the president. Politico[3] said, "President Donald Trump made several false or misleading statements about illegal immigration and border security in a nationally televised speech Tuesday evening." Among these false statements, Politico reported, that there is no crisis at the southern border. They wrote:

Trump: "I am speaking to you because there is a growing and humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border. Every day Customs and Border Patrol agents encounter thousand of illegal immigrants trying to enter our country. We are out of space to hold them and we have no way to promptly return them back home to their country."

The notion that the number of illegal border crossings represent a "crisis" is not true. The number of people caught crossing at the border (the standard metric for determining the volume of illegal crossings generally) remains below that of annual levels under President Barack Obama and far below the high levels of the 1990s and early 2000s. Border Patrol arrested 396,579 people at the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2018. The agency arrested an average of 400,751 people per year over the previous decade.

The New York Times[1] refuted Trump's claim that "Every week 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone, 90 percent of which floods across our southern border." They wrote, "Most heroin smuggled into the United States does come through the southwest border, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s latest National Drug Threat Assessment report. But most of it is smuggled into the United States through legal ports of entry at the southern border, not through the desert, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s 2018 annual drug threat assessment."

Meanwhile, CBS[15] fact-checked several parts of the speech, which included a section on Trump's claim that one in three woman were sexually assaulted while traveling to the border (shown below). The section was subsequently removed from the article.


Fact check: Number of women sexually assaulted on trip to border CLAIM: The president claimed one in three women have been sexually assaulted traveling to the border. FACT CHECK: Between 60 percent and 80 percent of female migrants traveling through Mexico are r---- along the way, Amnesty International estimates.

Online Reaction

The speech inspired discussion on several subreddits, including /r/The_Donald [7]and /r/politics.[8][9]

Many online fact-checked the president in real-time on Twitter. One of the most frequently checked claims was that the government was shut down because "Democrats will not fund border security." Twitter[4] user @ActorAaronBooth tweeted a quote from President Trump, "I will shut down the government… I am proud to shut down the government… I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down.” -@realDonaldTrump, 12/11/2018." The tweet received more than 1,700 retweets and 4,300 likes in 24 hours (shown below, left).

Others noted that Trump's claims of a "crisis" at the border are unfounded. Toronto Star Washington correspondent Daniel Dale tweeted[5] during the speech, "Most of the heroin Trump is talking about comes through legal ports of entry, not through unwalled areas." The tweet received more than 8,500 retweets and 30,000 likes in 24 hours (shown below, center).

Some criticized both sides for restating their positions that triggered the shutdown. Politico's John Bresnahan tweeted,[6] "Nothing new from either side. Shutdown heads into Day 19." The tweet received more than 150 retweets and 675 likes in 24 hours (shown below, right).


"I will shut down the government... I am proud to shut down the government... I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down.”-@realDonaldTrump, 12/11/2018 Baihly Warfield WDIO @BaihlyWDIO The federal government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only because Democrats will not fund border security." -@realDonaldTrump Show this thread Most of the heroin Trump is talking about comes through legal ports of entry, not through unwalled areas. John Bresnahan @BresPolitico Nothing new from either side. Shutdown heads into Day 19

Media Coverage

Virtually every media outlet covered the speech and the rebuttal, including The New York Times, [1] Politico,[3] NBC,[10] The Washington Post,[11] Time,[12] Reuters,[13] Newsweek[14] and more.

Chuck Schumer Standing with Nancy Pelosi

Chuck Schumer Standing with Nancy Pelosi refers to images of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi delivering a rebuttal following a national address by President Donald Trump about the government shut down and situation at the American and Mexican border. Twitter users joked that the pair looked like disapproving parents and made photoshops of the image.


Kamahl Santamaria | Al Jazeera Follow @KamahlAJE Meanwhile, Christopher Walken and the mom from Everybody Loves Raymond do not look happy. jon gabriel @exjon Follow Your father and I aren't angry with you, just disappointed. 4 10:34 PM - 8 Jan 2019 Elliott Hamilton @ElliottRHams Follow When mom and dad find out you've been skipping school 11:01 PM - 8 Jan 2019

Search Interest

External References

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