President Trump delivered his first prime-time address from the Oval Office Tuesday night, reiterating that there is a "crisis" at the southern border but offering no new policy or approach. He did not declare a national emergency, as he has been considering.
Mr. Trump was more measured with his statements and facts about the situation at the border than he has been in press conferences and other unscripted remarks. The partial government shutdown is now in its third week over Mr. Trump's demand for a border wall.
"This is a choice between right and wrong, justice and injustice. This is about whether we fulfill our sacred duty to the American citizens we serve," the president declared.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi delivered their own response. Read on below for full remarks from the president, Schumer and Pelosi, along with fact checks of the president's claims.
Caroline Horn, Katiana Krawchenko, Maggie Dore, Kate Rydell, Rob Legare, Clare Hymes, Brian Gottlieb and Rebecca Kaplan contributed reporting.
Fact check: 20,000 migrant children brought illegally into the U.S. in December
TRUMP CLAIM: Last month, 20,000 migrant children were illegally brought into the United States.
FACT CHECK: Probably True. According to CBP, 4,982 unaccompanied minors were apprehended at the border in October 2018, and November, 5,283 were caught. In addition, family units -- that is, individuals (either a child under 18 years old, parent or legal guardian) apprehended with a family member by the U.S. Border Patrol -- numbered 23,115 in October and 25,172 in November. Assuming that each "family unit" contains at least one child, that means that the numbers of children are well above the 20,000 number cited by the president tonight.
Fact check: Claim that Democrats want steel barrier instead
CLAIM: The president claimed the barrier will be steel rather than concrete "at the request of Democrats."
FACT CHECK: Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said this claim is "false." Democratic leadership has not expressed support for steel barriers.
Fact check: Number of arrests of illegal immigrants with criminal records
CLAIM: The president said that in the last two years, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers made 266,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records.
FACT: The number of arrests for the years 2016-2018 is accurate, according to ICE data, but it needs context.
There have been 210,876 arrests of illegal immigrants with previous criminal convictions, and 55,233 arrests of those with pending charges. But many of those crimes are non-violent, the most common being traffic violations.
- CBS News' Kate Rydell
Fact check: Number of Americans who have died from drugs
CLAIM: The president claimed more Americans die from drugs than were killed in the entire Vietnam War.
FACT: The Vietnam War claimed the lives of over 58,200 Americans. The Centers for Disease Control reported that over 72,000 people died due to drug overdoses in 2017. This figure includes illicit drugs and prescription opioids.
- CBS News' Jack Turman
Correction: This item has been updated to reflect that over 58,200 Americans died in the Vietnam War, not 58,200 people. The overall death toll from the war, including Vietnamese troops and civilians, was much higher.
Fact check: Heroin coming across the southern border
CLAIM: President Trump said the southern border pipeline vast quantities of illegal drugs including meth, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl. He said that every week, 300 U.S. citizens are killed by heroin alone, and 90 percent floods from the southern border.
FACT: According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 15,958 Americans died from heroin overdoses in 2017. This comes out to about 306 deaths per week. And according to the Drug Enforcement Administration's 2018 report, "The SWB remains the primary entry point for heroin into the United States. Most of the heroin seized by CBP occurs along the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego, California."
Read Trump's full remarks
Here are the president's full remarks from his Tuesday evening Oval Office address:
My fellow Americans: Tonight, I am speaking to you because there is a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border. Every day, Customs and Border Patrol agents encounter thousands 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. America proudly welcomes millions of lawful immigrants who enrich our society and contribute to our nation. But all Americans are hurt by uncontrolled, illegal migration. It strains public resources and drives down jobs and wages. Among those hardest hit are African Americans and Hispanic Americans.
Our southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs, including meth, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl. Every week, 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone, 90 percent of which floods across from our southern border. More Americans will die from drugs this year than were killed in the entire Vietnam War. In the last two years, ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records, including those charged or convicted of 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 violent killings. Over the years, thousands of Americans have been brutally killed by those who illegally entered our country, and thousands more lives will be lost if we don't act right now.
This is a humanitarian crisis -- a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul. Last month, 20,000 migrant children were illegally brought into the United States -- a dramatic increase. These children are used as human pawns by vicious coyotes and ruthless gangs. One in three women are sexually assaulted on the dangerous trek up through Mexico. Women and children are the biggest victims, by far, of our broken system. This is the tragic reality of illegal immigration on our southern border. This is the cycle of human suffering that I am determined to end. My administration has presented Congress with a detailed proposal to secure the border and stop the criminal gangs, drug smugglers, and human traffickers. It's a tremendous problem.
Our proposal was developed by law enforcement professionals and border agents at the Department of Homeland Security. These are the resources they have requested to properly perform their mission and keep America safe. In fact, safer than ever before. The proposal from Homeland Security includes cutting-edge technology for detecting drugs, weapons, illegal contraband, and many other things. We have requested more agents, immigration judges, and bed space to process the sharp rise in unlawful migration fueled by our very strong economy. Our plan also contains an urgent request for humanitarian assistance and medical support.Furthermore, we have asked Congress to close border security loopholes so that illegal immigrant children can be safely and humanely returned back home. Finally, as part of an overall approach to border security, law enforcement professionals have requested $5.7 billion for a physical barrier.
At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall. This barrier is absolutely critical to border security. It's also what our professionals at the border want and need. This is just common sense. The border wall would very quickly pay for itself. The cost of illegal drugs exceeds $500 billion a year -- vastly more than the $5.7 billion we have requested from Congress. The wall will also be paid for, indirectly, by the great new trade deal we have made with Mexico. Senator Chuck Schumer -- who you will be hearing from later tonight -- has repeatedly supported a physical barrier in the past, along with many other Democrats. They changed their mind only after I was elected president.
Democrats in Congress have refused to acknowledge the crisis. And they have refused to provide our brave border agents with the tools they desperately need to protect our families and our nation. The federal government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only: because Democrats will not fund border security. My administration is doing everything in our power to help those impacted by the situation. But the only solution is for Democrats to pass a spending bill that defends our borders and re-opens the government.
This situation could be solved in a 45-minute meeting. I have invited congressional leadership to the White House tomorrow to get this done. Hopefully, we can rise above partisan politics in order to support national security. Some have suggested a barrier is immoral. Then why do wealthy politicians build walls, fences, and gates around their homes? They don't build walls because they hate the people on the outside, but because they love the people on the inside. The only thing that is immoral is the politicians to do nothing and continue to allow more innocent people to be so horribly victimized.
America's heart broke the day after Christmas when a young police officer in California was savagely murdered in cold blood by an illegal alien, who just came across the border. The life of an American hero was stolen by someone who had no right to be in our country. Day after day, precious lives are cut short by those who have violated our borders. In California, an Air Force veteran was raped, murdered, and beaten to death with a hammer by an illegal alien with a long criminal history. In Georgia, an illegal alien was recently charged with murder for killing, beheading, and dismembering his neighbor. In Maryland, MS-13 gang members who arrived in the United States as unaccompanied minors were arrested and charged last year after viciously stabbing and beating a 16-year-old girl. Over the last several years, I've met with dozens of families whose loved ones were stolen by illegal immigration. I've held the hands of the weeping mothers and embraced the grief-stricken fathers. So sad. So terrible. I will never forget the pain in their eyes, the tremble in their voices, and the sadness gripping their souls.
How much more American blood must we shed before Congress does its job? To those who refuse to compromise in the name of border security, I would ask: Imagine if it was your child, your husband, or your wife whose life was so cruelly shattered and totally broken? To every member of Congress: Pass a bill that ends this crisis. To every citizen: Call Congress and tell them to finally, after all of these decades, secure our border. This is a choice between right and wrong, justice and injustice. This is about whether we fulfill our sacred duty to the American citizens we serve. When I took the Oath of Office, I swore to protect our country. And that is what I will always do, so help me God. Thank you and goodnight.
Full remarks by Pelosi, Schumer
Here are the full remarks, as prepared, by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer:
Speaker Pelosi: Good evening. I appreciate the opportunity to speak directly to the American people tonight about how we can end this shutdown and meet the needs of the American people.
Sadly, much of what we have heard from President Trump throughout this senseless shutdown has been full of misinformation and even malice.
The President has chosen fear. We want to start with the facts.
The fact is: On the very first day of this Congress, House Democrats passed Senate Republican legislation to re-open government and fund smart, effective border security solutions.
But the President is rejecting these bipartisan bills which would re-open government - over his obsession with forcing American taxpayers to waste billions of dollars on an expensive and ineffective wall - a wall he always promised Mexico would pay for!
The fact is: President Trump has chosen to hold hostage critical services for the health, safety and well-being of the American people and withhold the paychecks of 800,000 innocent workers across the nation - many of them veterans.
He promised to keep government shutdown for 'months or years' - no matter whom it hurts. That's just plain wrong.
The fact is: We all agree that we need to secure our borders, while honoring our values: we can build the infrastructure and roads at our ports of entry; we can install new technology to scan cars and trucks for drugs coming into our nation; we can hire the personnel we need to facilitate trade and immigration at the border; and we can fund more innovation to detect unauthorized crossings.
The fact is: the women and children at the border are not a security threat, they are a humanitarian challenge - a challenge that President Trump's own cruel and counterproductive policies have only deepened.
And the fact is: President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis, and must re-open the government.
Senator Schumer: Thank you, Speaker Pelosi.
My fellow Americans, we address you tonight for one reason only: the President of the United States - having failed to get Mexico to pay for his ineffective, unnecessary border wall, and unable to convince the Congress or the American people to foot the bill - has shut down the government.
American democracy doesn't work that way. We don't govern by temper tantrum. No president should pound the table and demand he gets his way or else the government shuts down, hurting millions of Americans who are treated as leverage.
Tonight - and throughout this debate and his presidency - President Trump has appealed to fear, not facts. Division, not unity.
Make no mistake: Democrats and the President both want stronger border security. However, we sharply disagree with the President about the most effective way to do it.
So, how do we untangle this mess?
There is an obvious solution: separate the shutdown from the arguments over border security. There is bipartisan legislation - supported by Democrats and Republicans - to re-open government while allowing debate over border security to continue.
There is no excuse for hurting millions of Americans over a policy difference. Federal workers are about to miss a paycheck. Some families can't get a mortgage to buy a new home. Farmers and small businesses won't get loans they desperately need.
Most presidents have used Oval Office addresses for noble purposes. This president just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear, and divert attention from the turmoil in his Administration.
My fellow Americans, there is no challenge so great that our nation cannot rise to meet it. We can re-open the government AND continue to work through disagreements about policy. We can secure our border without an expensive, ineffective wall. And we can welcome legal immigrants and refugees without compromising safety and security.
The symbol of America should be the Statue of Liberty, not a thirty-foot wall.
So our suggestion is a simple one: Mr. President: re-open the government and we can work to resolve our differences over border security. But end this shutdown now.
Pelosi responds: "The president has chosen fear"
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi began the Democratic response, saying the president's border wall campaign has been full of misinformation and even "malice."
"The president has chosen fear," Pelosi said, adding Democrats want to start with "facts."
Pelosi said it's "plain wrong" for the president to keep thousands of federal workers from pay.
RNC response to Trump speech
Unsurprisingly, the Republican National Committee issued a statement strongly supporting the president's message.
"Tonight, Americans saw their president fighting for a solution to fund our government while protecting American citizens, versus the approach of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer which is to resist, resist, resist at all costs," RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said. "It wasn't always this way. President Trump is simply asking Democrats to support border security policies they all supported just a few short years ago. It's time for Democrats to put down their swords and work with President Trump."
Trump says Democrats have refused to acknowledge a crisis
The president said Democrats have refused to acknowledge there is a crisis at the southern border, and that Democrats are the only reason the federal government remains closed.
Mr. Trump confirmed he has invited leaders from Capitol Hill to come to the White House Wednesday to negotiate further.
Trump lays out DHS needs
The president said the White House plan, at the request of the Department of Homeland Security, requests funding for technology, humanitarian needs, and $5.7 billion "for a physical barrier."
The president said that "at the request of Democrats," the barrier will be steel rather than a concrete wall.
But Democrats have made no such public proposal.
"A crisis of the heart, and a crisis of the soul"
The president also declared the situation at the border is a "humanitarian crisis."
"A crisis of the heart, and a crisis of the soul," the president said.
Trump says "all Americans" are hurt by illegal immigration
The president began his address last night by laying out what he declares is the threat of illegal immigration.
"All Americans," Mr. Trump said, are hurt by illegal immigration.
The president, looking into the camera, rattled off crime statistics related to illegal immigrants.
Trump begins address
The president began his address moments after 9 p.m.
Democrats on the Senate floor make case to reopen government
Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, Senate Democrats took the opportunity late Tuesday to urge their colleagues to reopen the agencies that are shut down.
"Donald Trump says this is about security," Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said on the Senate floor. "Well if it's about security, we ought to make sure our Coast Guard is paid. We ought to make sure our TSA agents are paid. We're seeing dramatic numbers of folks calling in sick, dramatically reducing the ability to maintain security at our airports, where frankly, most of our vulnerability on our border actually takes place. That's going to get exponentially worse after Friday, when these employees go without a paycheck. The fact of the matter is, these workers don't work for Donald Trump. They work for America."
Barely one hour to go until Trump's address
The clock is ticking until the president's first primetime address from the Oval Office, with cable networks to Capitol Hill waiting to hear what the president will say.
The president's address is expected to last roughly eight minutes, the White House has told networks. But of course, Mr. Trump is the president -- and speaks as long as he likes.
McCarthy: Pence did not bring up national emergency
House Minority Leader, pressed by reporters on Capitol Hill, said Vice President Mike Pence did not address the possibility of Mr. Trump declaring a national emergency.
Asked specifically if he supported a national emergency declaration, McCarthy said they'd wait for the president's speech.
Some federal workers to rally in D.C. Thursday
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and a handful of members of Congress will rally with federal employees outside the AFL-CIO's headquarters on Thursday.
They're demanding an immediate resolution to the partial shutdown. The crowd plans to march down the street and demonstrate in front of the White House, the AFL-CIO announced.
The members of Congress expected to attend are:
- House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.
- Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C.
- Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa.
- Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md.
- Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.
Trump to meet with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill Wednesday
Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will attend the Senate GOP policy luncheon Wednesday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to put any legislation on reopening the government to a vote which would not receive Mr. Trump's signature.
Trump campaign fundraises ahead of speech
The Trump campaign sent an email to supporters Tuesday afternoon ahead of Mr. Trump's speech in the Oval Office, encouraging supporters to reach the fundraising goal of $500,000 by the end of the night to "do something so HUGE, even Democrats and the Fake News won't be able to ignore."
Mr. Trump said that the topics of his speech this evening would be the drugs "poisoning our loved ones," MS-13 gang members, and "illegal criminals" who are "flooding our nation."
"I want to make one thing clear to Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi: Your safety is not a political game or a negotiation tactic!" the email said, in the voice of Mr. Trump.
It also said that the campaign would be gathering information on everyone who donated to the "Official Secure the Border Fund."
"I want to know who stood with me when it mattered most so I've asked my team to send me a list of EVERY AMERICAN PATRIOT who donates to the Official Secure the Border Fund," the email concluded.
California House members dump garbage at White House
California Reps. Jared Huffman and Jackie Speier, both Democrats, delivered garbage which they collected from their districts' national parks to the White House.
"We are doing this to provide, hopefully, a reality check to our president," Huffman said in brief remarks outside the White House. "His political stunt in shutting down the government over the border wall has real world consequences."
Watch their Facebook video below:
Democrats to deliver response to the address
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will deliver the official Democratic response to Mr. Trump's address. Pelosi and Schumer argued that since television networks were airing Mr. Trump's speech, they should also air the Democratic rebuttal.
Pelosi and Schumer will not be the only lawmakers responding to the speech. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont independent and potential 2020 presidential candidate, announced that he, too, will be responding to the president's Oval Office address tonight. Sanders' address will be carried on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-California, will be giving a "veteran's response" to the speech. Lieu served in the Air Force and is currently a colonel in the Air Force Reserve.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, is also expected to post a response to Mr. Trump's address on Instagram.
Top Republican on House Armed Services Committee says he opposes military money for wall
House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Mac Thornberry, a Republican, said that he opposes military money for wall construction.
"I am opposed to using defense dollars for non-defense purposes," he told reporters Tuesday, in reference to using DOD funds to build a border wall under a national emergency.
"We need border security. And that includes physical barriers, it includes people, and it includes technology. And that should be fully funded on its own," Thornberry told CBS News later Tuesday. "So if you have to take money from some other account, then you are hurting some other federal priority, in this case, the men and women who serve us and that shouldn't happen."
Unclear if Trump address will offer new information
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Mr. Trump "may" offer some change in policy in Tuesday night's speech, but told reporters at the White House Tuesday afternoon the goal is to hit home the message of border security to the American people.
"I think the president is going to bring his case directly to the American people," Conway said.
Conway said much of what the president says will "strike" the American people as new.
Pence, Nielsen to meet with Republicans on Capitol Hill
Vice President Mike Pence and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will meet with Republicans on Capitol Hill Tuesday evening ahead of Mr. Trump's address.
But it's unclear what will happen after Mr. Trump gives his address -- and the Democrats give their response -- Tuesday night.
The White House says there is an open invitation for Democrats to come to the White House to meet with the president and negotiate.
How to watch
The presidential address will air on all CBS local stations, as a special report on CBS News. CBS News will also air the Democratic response as part of the special report.
CBSN -- the free, live news streaming service from CBS News -will also carry the president's address and the Democratic response. "Red & Blue" -- which also airs on CBSN -- will have live coverage at 5 p.m. ET today.
Pence says Trump will address "humanitarian crisis" at border
Vice President Mike Pence told CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett on "CBS This Morning" the president will address the "humanitarian crisis" at the border in his speech.
Pence continues to insist Democrats need to come to the table to negotiate, although the White house has not backed down on its demands for more than $5 billion for border wall funding.
"The time has come for the Democrats to come to the table, and we have to start negotiating," Pence said. "Not just to address the government shutdown but to address the humanitarian crisis at the border."
Pence told reporters Monday the administration is considering a statutory change that would allow for minors in troubled countries like Guatemala to apply for asylum at U.S. embassies in their home countries.
Pompeo says Trump will make a "lot of news"
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters in Jordan the president will "make a lot of news" in his Oval Office address.
"It's gonna be about the border, mostly about our southern border. I saw an early version of it. He'll make a lot of news," Pompeo said with a laugh.
It's unclear what that news might be. Vice President Mike Pence wouldn't say whether Mr. Trump would declare a national emergency in an attempt to free up funding for his wall, something the president said he was considering.