Published: Tue, January 08, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Trump plans televised address, visit to Mexico border

Trump plans televised address, visit to Mexico border

All the major television networks in America will air President Donald Trump's address on the border wall live on Tuesday after the White House requested they carve out space in their prime-time lineups.

In a tweet Monday, Trump said he would address the nation on "the Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border" on Tuesday night at 9 p.m.

Democratic lawmakers are refusing to negotiate with the White House over funding for a proposed wall along the US southern border unless the government is reopened, Vice President Mike Pence told reporters Monday in a briefing at his ceremonial office. According to the Wall Street Journal, Trump is asking his aides to come up with a plan that will allow him to reopen the government while sparing him from looking like he's capitulating to Democrats.

Trump told reporters on Sunday morning that he was considering declaring a national emergency, and he said he planned to call the head of US Steel and other steel manufacturers to ask them to design a steel barrier for the southern border.

The White House said the letter, as well as details provided during the meeting, sought to answer Democrats' questions about the funding request. Three weeks into the shutdown, Trump now takes his most dramatic step in the push for the wall: an Oval Office address, televised directly to the American people.

Watch more of the discussion above.

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However, in what could be read as a gesture to appease Democrats, the Trump administration is now offering $800 million in aid to address humanitarian needs at the border, including better medical care and additional facilities for processing and holding those in temporary custody considered to be the most "vulnerable population".

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney also noted the perceived political benefit of calling for a steel barrier to NBC News saying Sunday, "If he has to give up a concrete wall, replace it with a steel fence in order to do that so that Democrats can say, 'See?"

"Instead, he is still demanding that American taxpayers pay at least $5.7 billion for his wall, which can't pass either chamber of Congress and of course Mexico is not paying for".

The aide said Democrats did not come back with a "reasonable" counteroffer to the administration's requests. Although a handful of Republican senators from swing states have expressed a desire to end the partial shutdown, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is adamant that the Senate will not vote on funding bills that don't have support from the president. Tax refund checks might have been disrupted too, but the White House said Monday the IRS will issue refunds during the shutdown. Such a move would seem certain to draw legal challenges.

Trump said, however, that he expected "very serious talks" early this week and that he "can relate" to federal workers affected by the shutdown.

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