President Trump did something Tuesday night (Wednesday AEST) that he has rarely done since taking office: He used the presidential bully pulpit to reach beyond his hardcore base of supporters to make his case to the American people as a whole.
Speaking from the Oval Office for the first time during his presidency, Trump embraced our country’s tradition as a nation of immigrants, declaring “America proudly welcomes millions of lawful immigrants who enrich our society and contribute to our nation.” He then offered a cogent why he believes we face what he called “a humanitarian crisis — a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul” on our southern border.
He pointed out the human cost of our broken system to illegal migrants themselves, expressing compassion for the “children [who] are used as human pawns by vicious coyotes and ruthless gangs” and the “women [who] are sexually assaulted on the dangerous trek up through Mexico.” He shared heartbreaking stories of Americans killed by criminal aliens who had no right to be here — including a police officer in California who was murdered, a 16-year-old girl who was brutally stabbed in Maryland, and an Air Force veteran who was raped and beaten to death.
“I’ve held the hands of the weeping mothers and embraced the grief-stricken fathers,” Trump declared. “I will never forget the pain in their eyes, the tremble in their voices, or the sadness gripping their souls.”
And he laid out his solution, which he explained was “developed by law enforcement professionals and border agents” and includes funds for cutting-edge technology, more border agents, more immigration judges, more bed space and medical support — and $5.7 billion for a “physical barrier” that he called “just common sense.” Without naming her, Trump responded to the absurd charge from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that a wall is “immoral.” Democrats voted repeatedly for physical barriers until he was elected president, he noted. If a wall is immoral, Trump asked, “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.”