Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday night that President Trump used his prime-time Oval Office address to “manufacture a crisis, stoke fear, and divert attention from the turmoil in his Administration.”
In a response delivered jointly with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Schumer called on Trump to approve legislation ending the partial government shutdown “while allowing debate over border security to continue.”
“We can re-open the government and continue to work through disagreements about policy,” Schumer said. “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.”
In her remarks, Pelosi said the president’s statements during the partial shutdown have been “full of misinformation and even malice,” and accused the administration of practicing “cruel and counterproductive policies” at the southern border.
“The fact is: the women and children at the border are not a security threat, they are a humanitarian challenge,” said Pelosi, adding that “President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis, and must re-open the government.”
In a separate rebuttal, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., spoke of the effect of the partial shutdown on federal employees, whom he said “deserve to be treated with respect, not held hostage as political pawns.”
“President Trump has stated tonight, and, over and over again in recent weeks, that this country faces a national emergency,” said Sanders, who is said to be considering a run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. “Well, he’s right. But it’s an emergency and a crisis that he himself has created.”
Sanders also accused Trump of “trying to create fear and hatred in our country … and, in the process, divert our attention away from the real crises facing the working families of this nation,” specifically citing income inequality, climate change, health care, and student debt.
“Mr. President, we don’t need to create artificial crises. We have enough real ones,” Sanders said. “Let us end this shutdown and bring the American people together around an agenda that will improve life for all of our people.”
This is a developing story; check back for more updates.