President Donald Trump delivered his first televised national address to Americans from the Oval Office of the White House on Tuesday, Jan. 8. Trump explained why the partial government shutdown is necessary to secure $5.7 billion to fund the border wall.
In an unprecedented move, the three major TV networks limited President Trump's speech to only 8 minutes. The networks initially hesitated to air the President's speech at all because they feared he would say the wrong thing.
Trump urged the American people to support his battle with the Democrats for border wall funding. “This is a choice between right and wrong, justice and injustice," he said, describing border security as "a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul."
Trump said Black and Hispanic Americans were hardest hit by the immigration crisis. He said migrant women and children were "victims" of lawless gangs and human smugglers who raped 1/3 of women on the way to the U.S.
"These children are used as human pawns by vicious coyotes and ruthless gangs,” he said.
Trump said drugs and crime coming across the border endangered American lives.
He called the border wall "common sense," and he challenged the Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and California Congresswoman Maxine Waters, to explain why they have walls around their mansions but refuse to secure the U.S.
"Why do wealthy politicians build walls, fences, and gates outside their home?” he asked. “They don’t build walls because they hate the people on the outside but because they love the people on the inside."
He questioned why former President Barack Obama and Congressional leader Chuck Schumer both advocated for a border wall when Obama was in office.
"They changed their mind only after I was elected president," Trump said. "Democrats in Congress have refused to acknowledge the crisis."
He said the steel wall would pay for itself via an indirect trade deal with Mexico.
Trump said the Democrats can reopen the federal government by approving the $5.7 billion in funding for the wall.
Migrants waiting to cross the border into the U.S. watched Trump's live televised speech at a shelter in Tijuana, Mexico. Tijuana continues to house migrants hoping to cross the border into the U.S.
Every sitting President has shut down the federal government for political reasons during their terms in office.
Former President Obama shut down the government for 17 days in 2013 over a dispute with Congress for funding for his ObamaCare bill. Obama's government shutdown cost taxpayers $24 billion.
The current shutdown began on December 22, and is estimated to cost the American taxpayers $6.5 billion per week.
Photos by Carlos Barria-Pool/Getty Images, Mario Tama/Getty Images