Lights, camera, fact-checking!

Published 10:19 pm Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Another day, and yet another example of how President Donald Trump is an even worse leader than you previously imagined, but once again on primetime television.

Trump sat at his Oval Office desk on Tuesday evening to deliver a speech to the American people. Clocking in at about nine minutes long, it was yet another vain attempt to get Democrats to agree on funding his absurd — and ineffective — border wall.

With mock sincerity, he tried to paint the situation as “a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.”

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“My administration has presented Congress with a detailed proposal to secure the border and stop the criminal gangs, drug smugglers and human traffickers,” he said on national television. “It’s a tremendous problem.”

All three are substantial problems, but none of them would be addressed by his $5.7 billion wall, despite what his false claims would lead you to believe.

USA Today compiled a fact-checking report after Trump’s address. The president claimed that he agreed to change his beloved barrier from a concrete wall to a steel one “at the request of Democrats,” but it was actually a request from his own Border Patrol agents. Trump himself divulged that in December.

Another falsehood was his argument that this wall would help prevent drug smuggling across the border. He described the southern border as 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,” according to Trump. “More Americans will die from drugs this year than were killed in the entire Vietnam War.”

Here’s just one of the problems with his argument: the vast majority of these drugs don’t enter through the land that will be supposedly safeguarded by the wall. They mostly come in through legal entry points.

Trump also spent a great portion of his speech dehumanizing immigrants by using specific, criminal examples as figureheads for his proposal — criminals that entered this country illegally who murdered, raped and assaulted citizens. Each crime is absolutely heinous, but he only used them to cover up the facts and to stoke the fires against his Democratic opponents.

Opponents got their own chance for a rebuttal Tuesday night. Broadcast shortly after Trump’s fear mongering, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer stood together to address the nation.

With Wednesday marking the 19th day of the partial government shutdown — the second longest in history, according to USA Today — Pelosi pointed out that “House Democrats passed Senate Republican legislation to re-open government and fund smart, effective border security solutions,” which was summarily rejected by Trump.

Why? Because there was no funding for his precious wall.

“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,” Pelosi said Tuesday evening.

And as of Wednesday, there’s no end to the shutdown in sight. Trump stormed out of a negotiating meeting with congressional leaders on Wednesday and threatened to declare a national emergency at the border, because Democrats refused to yield to his demands, according to USA Today.

A national emergency would theoretically allow him to use military money to build the wall without the Democrats’ approval. This is what the commander-in-chief had to say about the meeting — on Twitter, of course.

“Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time. I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier,” Trump tweeted. “Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!”

The shutdown will hit 20 days when this column is printed in Thursday’s paper. Trump refuses to show any weakness and give up on his barrier dreams, while Democrats reasonably don’t want to waste tax dollars on the project, or harm the nation’s credibility more than it already has been hurt in the past two years.

The president needs to re-open the government, get things back on track for workers and leave them out of his bogus debating.