Trump Delivers Substance Free Address On Shutdown And Border Wall

President Trump's speech on the border wall and the shutdown was fact-free, misleading, and overall a bomb.

President Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Office last night on the government shutdown and the border wall in a speech that fell remarkably flat, likely didn’t change anyone’s mind, and leaves one wondering exactly how the White House thinks it can win this showdown with Congressional Democrats that has led to the second-longest government shutdown in American history:

WASHINGTON — President Trump doubled down on one of the biggest gambles of his presidency on Tuesday night with a televised appeal to pressure Congress into paying for his long-promised border wall, even at the cost of leaving the government partly closed until lawmakers give in.

Embarking on a strategy that he himself privately disparaged as unlikely to work, Mr. Trump devoted the first prime-time Oval Office address of his presidency to his proposed barrier in hopes of enlisting public support in an ideological and political conflict that has shut the doors of many federal agencies for 18 days.

In a nine-minute speech that made no new arguments but included multiple misleading assertions, the president sought to recast the situation at the Mexican border as a “humanitarian crisis” and opted against declaring a national emergency to bypass Congress, which he had threatened to do, at least for now. But he excoriated Democrats for blocking the wall, accusing them of hypocrisy and exposing the country to criminal immigrants.

“How much more American blood must we shed before Congress does its job?” Mr. Trump asked, citing a litany of grisly crimes said to be committed by illegal immigrants. Asking Americans to call their lawmakers, he added: “This is a choice between right and wrong, justice and injustice. This is about whether we fulfill our sacred duty to the American citizens we serve.”

Democrats dismissed his talk of crisis as overstated cynicism and, with polls showing Mr. Trump bearing more of the blame since the partial shutdown began last month, betrayed no signs of giving in. The White House earlier in the day dispatched Vice President Mike Pence and others to Capitol Hill to try to shore up Senate Republicans, who are growing increasingly anxious as the standoff drags on.

In their own televised response on Tuesday night, Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, accused the president of stoking fear and mocked him for asking taxpayers to foot the bill for a wall he had long said Mexico would pay for.

“President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis and must reopen the government,” Ms. Pelosi said.

In taking his argument to a national television audience and on a trip to the Texas border he plans to take on Thursday, Mr. Trump hoped to reframe the debate. After spending much of the first two weeks of the shutdown cloistered in the White House, he has now opted to use the powers of the presidency to focus public attention on his ominous warnings about the border.

Yet privately, Mr. Trump dismissed his own new strategy as pointless. In an off-the-record lunch with television anchors hours before the address, he made clear in blunt terms that he was not inclined to give the speech or go to Texas, but was talked into it by advisers, according to two people briefed on the discussion who asked not to be identified sharing details. 

“It’s not going to change a damn thing, but I’m still doing it,” Mr. Trump said of the border visit, according to one of the people, who was in the room. The trip was merely a photo opportunity, he said. “But,” he added, gesturing at his communications aides Bill Shine, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kellyanne Conway, “these people behind you say it’s worth it.”

Mr. Trump plans to head to the Capitol on Wednesday to attend a Senate Republican lunch and later will host congressional leaders from both parties to resume negotiations that so far have made little progress. Mr. Trump has insisted on $5.7 billion for the wall, while Ms. Pelosi said she would not give him a dollar for a wall she has called “immoral.”

In a nod to Democrats, Mr. Trump spent the first half of his talk on the humanitarian situation at the border before even mentioning the wall, expressing sympathy for those victimized by human smugglers. “This is a humanitarian crisis — a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul,” he said.

Even so, he directly took on Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer. “The only thing that is immoral is the politicians to do nothing and continue to allow more innocent people to be so horribly victimized,” he said.

More from Politico:

President Donald Trump on Tuesday night made a public plea for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, claiming that law enforcement officials are the ones demanding it, while blaming Democrats for the prolonged government shutdown that has resulted from an impasse over how to pay for the barrier.

The president, however, did not pull the trigger on a national emergency declaration that would potentially allow him to secure wall funding without Congress but would also inevitably draw a nasty court battle. Instead, he dedicated much of the address to blaming undocumented immigrants for many of the nation’s woes, from opioid addiction to violent crime — correlations that have been repeatedly debunked.

“This is a humanitarian crisis. A crisis of the heart, and a crisis of the soul,” Trump said in a rare televised address from the Oval Office.

The president opened his address by stating that the United States is suffering from a humanitarian and security crisis at the border, as he urged Congress to provide billions of dollars for a steel barrier by calling it “absolutely critical.”

“As part of an overall approach to border security, law enforcement professionals have requested $5.7 billion for a physical barrier,” Trump added, even though the wall proposal is his own core campaign promise that he has struggled to fulfill.

The president also tried to present himself as a dealmaker and tried to shift blame to Democrats who have refused to give in to his funding demands.

“At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall,” he added.

Trump so far has forged ahead with his demands for $5.7 billion in wall funding, while Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), have called his proposal “immoral.” The standoff has pushed the government into one of the longest shutdowns in U.S. history.

But Trump shot back on the criticism during his address.

“Some have suggested a barrier is immoral,” the president said Tuesday night. “Then why do wealthy politicians build walls, fences and gates around their homes?”

He continued: “The only thing that is immoral is the politicians to do nothing and continue to allow more innocent people to be so horribly victimized.”

Trump dedicated most of the end of his address to pushing blame for the shutdown on Democrats, saying the situation “could be solved in a 45-minute meeting” if Democrats agreed to increased physical border security.

In recent days, he has changed tacks, offering a steel barrier instead of a concrete wall and openly flirting with declaring a national emergency to secure the funds.

Congress alone has the power of the purse under the Constitution. But presidents are able to use unobligated military funds during a national emergency. Whether such a crisis exists, of course, is hotly contested, with Democrats noting that there are actually fewer border apprehensions over the past year than in past decades.

An emergency declaration would inevitably invite a court challenge that would leave Trump no closer to getting his wall, even if it would provide the president cover with his base.

The White House counsel’s office has been reviewing the legality of an emergency declaration since last Thursday, according to a source familiar with the process.

(…)

After demanding equal airtime, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) offered a rebuttal to Trump’s speech Tuesday night, accusing the president of stoking fear and reiterating their calls for him to end the shutdown.

“President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis and must reopen the government,” Pelosi said.

Schumer called on the president to separate the shutdown from the debate over border security, and asked that he take up legislation passed by the Democratic-controlled House last week that would reopen the federal government.

“There is no excuse for hurting millions of Americans over a policy difference,” Schumer said.

You can read the transcript of both Trump’s address and the Democratic response at the link, or watch the videos below:

I’ll admit that I did not watch the President’s address or the Democratic response live and instead chose to watch the short video when I woke up this morning before having seen any of the reaction of pundits to it. Notwithstanding that delay, it seems clear that this speech was basically a bomb and that the President would have been better off not making it at all. For the most part, what he had to say is no different from what he’s been saying about the border since he first became a candidate for President and, most especially, since the beginning of the shutdown. As has long been the case, the claims he made were largely false and the evidence for the claimed “crisis” at the border that he is now using as justification for keeping the government closed for what amounts to, at most, one-quarter of what his wall would cost if it were ever actually built were not supported by the evidence.

For example, it has long been established that net migration from Mexico has reversed and that this has been part of a trend that has been in place for more than 20 years now to the point where more people have been leaving the United States to return home than have been trying to get into the United States either legally or illegally. As for the Central American caravans that Trump has complained about, those people have generally presented themselves at designated ports of entry so that they can properly make their asylum claims pursuant to both Federal law and international treaties to which the United States is a signatory. Additionally, contrary to Trump Administration claims, the majority of importation of illegal drugs occurs at either designated ports of entry or via the nation’s airports and seaports. To the extent that there is extensive drug running across the border, much of it is conducted via tunnels that would bypass any border wall this President would build. The Administration has also claimed, without evidence, that terrorists have crossed into the United States via the southern border. As Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace established in an interview with White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders yesterday. This has been verified by President Trump’s own State Department, which found “no credible evidence” that terrorist groups were trying to get operatives into the United States through the southern border.  In short, there is no factual basis for the claims that the President made last night.

Beyond the substance, the President’s address, which was again his first Oval Office address after nearly two years in office, just came across as “blah.” Indeed, one could describe it as being uncharacteristically low energy compared to the way Trump acts when he’s speaking at a campaign rally or even just making statements before or answering questions from reporters. One reason for that, of course, could be the fact that, as the highlight portion of the report above indicates, Trump never really believed that the speech would work. That, combined with the fact that he quite honestly has never been very good at the kind of scripted speech he made last night and that probably goes a long way toward explaining why the address last night was, as analysts such as Rick Wilson, Stephen Collinson, and Daniel Drezner noted, a complete dud that is unlikely to move the needle in any respect. Wilson, who has come to be known for using some rather creative language to describe the President perhaps put it best:

On Tuesday night, Trump’s flaming dumpster train of distractions, lies, cons, and empty political promises flew off the rails and plunged into a mountain of burning tires in one of his worst public speeches.

After 17 days of a government shutdown temper tantrum, Trump needed a game-changing home run of a speech to change the political climate in D.C. He failed.

This speech wasn’t about saving his utterly fake wall. The $5.7 billion dollars he’s demanded as his vig for ending the shutdown isn’t even close to being seriously considered, and this speech was an overt admission he’s out of airspeed, altitude, and ideas. The crisis he proudly created will end without a wall, and he knows it.

This speech was supposed to be about forcing the national dialogue to stay on the border wall. No such luck. He reeked of defeat, clearly didn’t want to be there, and it showed.

Trump looked exhausted, squinty, and bored, reading in a near-monotone from the Teleprompter.  It went over like a wet fart.

The hysterical Know-Nothing show that flooded America’s airwaves on Tuesday evening was Trumpian boilerplate: Scary immigrants are coming to kill you! Drugs are coming over the border!

The man who gleefully put kids in cages tried to briefly pretend he gives a damn about migrant children in the least convincing humanitarian performance since the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

The dark warning of the dangerous brown tide coming across the border feeds the Breitbart/Fox base with the same messages they’re getting every day, but it lacked the showmanship and agenda-changing power Trump hoped it would. Even if it had, just keeping the base’s amygdalas stoked doesn’t come close to solving his multiple political problems.

The speech can most accurately be seen as the death twitch of The Wall cult.  Trump can’t deliver a product, so he’s looking to sell something different.

While Trump’s speech was a flaming disaster, I can’t really say much better about the short response that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senat Majority Leader Chuck Schumer delivered in response. Given the fact that the speech they were responding to lacked anything resembling substance, facts, or passion, one would have thought that the two Democratic leaders could have come up with something better than what they did. Part of the problem, of course, is that responses to Presidential addresses rarely go over well regardless of who the President is or who is delivering the response. Another mistake was having two people deliver what turned out to be a just over two-minute speech. Neither Pelosi nor Schumer are natural good speakers, to begin with, and this format didn’t highlight anything good about what either of them had to say. Fortunately for Democrats, the President’s speech was so bad that it hardly matters what the Democratic response had to say.

Suffice it to say that this speech is unlikely to move the needle significantly on either the shutdown or the border wall debate. Indeed, there is increasing evidence that support for the President’s position is beginning to crack among Republicans on Capitol Hill. The latest evidence for that came in statements from Senators Lisa Murkowski and Shelly Moore Capito who both spoke out in favor of reopening the government and continuing to negotiate over the border wall and other security issues after that has been done. This makes for five Republican Senators who have spoken out in favor of the approach advocated by House Democrats, meaning that there would be a majority in the Senate supporting reopening the government if Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were to let the matter get to the floor. The longer this goes on, the more likely it is that this number will continue to grow and the President could find himself on the losing end of this battle fairly quickly.

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, Congress, Deficit and Debt, Donald Trump, Politicians, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Kathy says:

    Poor Cheeto. His Big Fake Speech was overshadowed by Manafort’s defense team’s boo-boo, and Rosenstein’s announcement that he’s leaving his job when the new AG gets confirmed.

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  2. Joe says:

    Among the other failings of the Democratic response, whose idea was it to stand them in the middle of a hallway where the lighting and acoustics were both horrible? Is there no one available to them with an eye or ear for production? I would happily send them my college senior film production son whose basic skills in this area would clearly outstrip whoever they are using.

    And, while I am venting, there is something in the optics here about the average age of everyone speaking last night, Trump, Schumer and Pelosi. Its like we are being governed by our bickering grandparents. Can someone send in a 40-year-old or even a spry 50-something? Hell, send out AOC. Just get a new voice on this stage.

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  3. CSK says:

    I watched it, and the three words that sprang to mind were: Old. Tired. Defeated.

  4. Slugger says:

    As you have pointed out, he did not present anything that sounds like a national emergency. A crisis of the heart and soul means I should check in with my Rabbi or psychiatrist not rush to erect fortifications.
    In the last fifty years who has killed more Americans, sharks or terrorists who snuck in via the southern border? I acknowledge that drug trafficking is a big problem, but it is clearly a police issue and not some national existential problem.

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  5. Michael Reynolds says:

    I’ve been banging on for some time on Trump’s inability to convince anyone beyond his base of anything. In two years he’s convinced precisely no one who was not already part of his white supremacist cult. It’s funny how if you lie and lie and lie and lie most people just tune you out – something our resident Trump defenders might want to take on-board themselves. A liar is a null set, an emptiness, a hole in the flow of data. The only thing to know about a liar is that he is to be ignored.

    Trump has no capacity to convince. By this point you’ve either joined his cult or not. Zero new members will be added, it can only be subtraction going forward, which mirrors the declining Trump demographic – old people, evangelicals, rustics, racists, woman-haters and imbeciles. No one is signing up. Fading demo, inability to attract new adherents – the Trump revolution never really made it off that descending escalator.

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  6. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Joe:
    Indeed. I think what we saw last night was the tableau vivant that will help to sink Biden and Bernie and the other old farts. I’m 64 and if it looked like a gerontocracy to me, imagine what it must look like to a twenty-something.

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  7. CSK says:

    I wonder if Sanders, Conway, and Shine will hang on now that they’ve been publicly thrown under the bus?

    For that matter, how long will Trump hang on? Even he must know he’s lost.

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  8. al Ameda says:

    When you put this speech in the context of a man who has been a lifelong salesman and grifter, a man who accustomed to saying anything to close a deal, then you understand that this was his effort to present himself as a compassionate man who wants the Wall built for humanitarian reasons. It came off as phony and inauthentic. I’m sure his base loved it, and the mainstream conservative will characterize it as Lincoln-esque.

    Chuck and Nancy? Who cares?

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  9. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I agree whole-heatedly about the optics of the democratic response.
    I will take issue with the substance.
    Tell me when the Majority Leader of the House has stood before a Nat’l audience, directly after a Presidential speech and called the President a liar and a fear-monger?

    Sadly, much of what we have heard from President Trump throughout this senseless shutdown has been full of misinformation and even malice. The president has chosen fear.

    We all know that there is no crisis; Individual-1 is simply fighting for the symbolic goal he sold his base. Schumer was spot-on in taking on the symbolism:

    The symbol of America should be the Statue of Liberty, not a 30-foot wall.

    That’s a strong line.
    I don’t particularly like Pelosi, and I really don’t like Schumer…but I think they did as well as could be expected. And someone else was in charge of the stagecraft, not them.

    The award for the day, however, goes to Steve Schmidt in talking about paying for the wall:

    Where are the Pesos?

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  10. MarkedMan says:

    Part of his poor performance last night might have to do with distraction due to the revelations about the “C” word: Collusion. Due to a mistake by Manafort’s attorneys, we know that Manafort has admitted to colluding with a member of the Russian Intelligence service. Specifically he admitted to sharing internal polling data, presumably in order to coordinate Kremlin and Trump Campaign efforts.

    Even Trump can see the writing on the wall. He can claim that he knew nothing about it, but then the literally dozens (hundreds) of statements and tweets defending Manafort suddenly have the effect of portraying him as a gullible patsy. He can claim that it is nothing, that everyone running for office shares polling data with the Russians for no reason at all, but even our poor stock of resident Trumpers in this comment section won’t be able to stomach that (Not that they will abandon him, rather they will either a) ignore it, b) “What about Hillary” it, or c) proclaim that Russia is actually our closest ally now.)

    No matter what tack he tries to take, at every turn he and his pathetic minions will be confronted with “Why did you attack the Mueller investigation so viciously? This proves there was collusion at the highest levels of your campaign.” Even HuckaSanders might get tired of the abuse after a while.

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  11. Jc says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Agree as well and I am a forty something. New blood, please – Need a younger voice to keep people of my generation and the younger generation from just flipping the channel. Seeing these two reminds me that Dems have learned nothing from 16′, or very little.

  12. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    Oh yeah…and I forgot:

    “We don’t govern by temper tantrum”

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  13. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Due to a mistake by Manafort’s attorneys, we know that Manafort has admitted to colluding with a member of the Russian Intelligence service. Specifically he admitted to sharing internal polling data, presumably in order to coordinate Kremlin and Trump Campaign efforts.

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot since this came out yesterday, and there is no innocent, logical, or rational explanation for why this information would be shared. Internal polling data is extremely detailed, and is used to make campaign decisions. It’s heavily guarded information.

    Why on earth would the Russians need this information? Internal polling information is used for targeting–such as get out the vote efforts and advertising. We already know that both the Internet Research Agency and the GRU had active influence campaigns going on during the election. Handing them information that enabled them to better target their efforts certainly seems like conspiracy to me.

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  14. Bob@Youngstown says:

    IMO the Democratic response appropriately emphasized the hostage taking of some 25% of the federal government workers because the administration is unable to succeed in the debate on a 4th century barrier.

    I was mildly disappointed that Pelosi-Schumer failed to indicate a willingness to embrace 21st century solutions to border security. IMO, a dynamic, redeployable, technology based border security system is worthwhile and if the cost for such a solution is 5B, let’s see an actual plan and move out of the impass.

  15. Blue Galangal says:

    @Joe, @Michael Reynolds: In the main, I don’t disagree in general. We have a deep bench and we will hear more from younger members as they take over chairmanships, etc.

    Specifically, though, the more Nancy the better. First, because I’m still smarting from how HRC was treated, how Nancy continues to be treated, and how the media are gearing up to treat Warren, etc. I don’t really care that Nancy is over 70. I do care that she is a strong, smart, accomplished woman and that she is front and center on television. She is shrewd and she’s a strategic thinker. She doesn’t need to be dismissed or put in the back because she’s old. Second, the GOP’s entire strategy (such as it is) is based on nothing but owning the libs; every time Nancy’s on TV, the wingnuts start frothing at the mouth. GOOD.

    What Nancy does need to do is cultivate her sense of political strategy and shrewdness among a younger generation of Democrats, and I’m hopeful she’s doing that. AOC, who has a lot of raw talent, is not at the point now where she could deliver such a response with the gravitas Nancy could. I’d like to see AOC have the opportunity for some formal development, like an SOTU response next year. But at this point in time – and it’s one reason I never seriously considered anyone but Nancy for Speaker – we need all the shrewdness, toughness, and wisdom we can get. This is not a time for someone to learn on the job or to fumble a response to the cray-cray in the WH. Nancy and Chuck might be boring, but they sure do come across as the adults in the room who are sane and rational.

    Besides, I loved my grandparents. 😀 Every time I hear someone say disparagingly that Nancy’s a grandma, I smile inside and out. Grandmas are great.

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  16. dazedandconfused says:

    Trump may serve us well in one regard…he’s convincing a generation that sitting silently in a democracy can be like sitting silently in a barber’s chair, you can wind up with something resembling a rabid weasel on your head of state.

    “There’s no such thing as bad press in showbusiness.”

    I believe the main reason our political leaders are so elderly is due to the last few decades being handed over to populism. The media has become an industry addicted to ratings and nothing gets the people in their tent better than the clowns. Used to be nominees did not have to even participate in party polling, see Garfield and Ike for starters, but now they have created a circus that only a tiny percentage of our best and brightest will have anything to do with. Today we treat party polls as elections…because of press emphasis…even demand…for a horse race.

    Hence we have a reality TeeVee host as POTUS. Who, mostly by being a dumpster fire on legs, got more air time for podiums awaiting him to arrive than his opponent got. This is not limited to POTUSes, not at all. Michele Bachmann was the leading fund raiser for the GOP for quite some time by being a nut. Policy wonks get no time. We stare into the abyss of Mike Judge’s Idiocracy…and Don Trump stares back at us.

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  17. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Blue Galangal:
    I agree. Nancy Pelosi is the exactly right person in that spot at this time. My age concerns are about electability not a beef with older people. I’m in Hollywood pitching a TV series at age 64 and since HR departments won’t let the suits bring it up, I do: Yeah, I’m old, but in just the last year I’ve written more than 1000 manuscript pages as well as a TV pilot and a feature script. And, I point out, while I’m at a somewhat higher risk of dropping dead I’m at a much lower risk of needing to go to rehab, getting myself involved in a messy public divorce, or losing my mind. And barring not one but two miracles, I won’t be having more kids. Point being I am all about ignoring age – except when it comes to the practical matter of electability.

  18. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Ratings are out…more people watched the Dem response than watched the actual speech given by Individual-1.
    So.
    Much.
    Winning.

  19. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @MarkedMan:
    @Jen:

    Manafort has admitted to colluding

    Yeah…this is not getting anywhere near the play it deserves.
    If this isn’t the smoking gun…it’s the powder burns on the shirtsleeve.
    And always remember…we know nothing compared to what Mueller knows.

  20. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    this is not getting anywhere near the play it deserves.

    This is bigger than the Trump Tower meeting, without doubt.
    No one can say, from now on, there was no collusion.
    No one.

  21. James Pearce says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Ratings are out…more people watched the Dem response than watched the actual speech given by Individual-1.

    On which network?

    Also, who cares?

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  22. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @James Pearce:

    On which network?
    Also, who cares?

    Then why did you ask?
    Maroon.

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  23. Yank says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Yup. To add to this, the wall has never been popular. Even during 2016, the height of “Trumpism”, the wall polled terribly. It it is a dumb hill to die on, but that is Trump for you.

  24. Kathy says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    It’s been a long while since I watched “Network.” But I think it could be remade today with a Trump-like character as protagonist.

  25. MarkedMan says:

    @Jc:

    Seeing these two reminds me that Dems have learned nothing from 16′,

    While I agree with your sentiment that Biden is too old, I’m going to pick a nit here. The “Dems” haven’t demonstrated whether they learned anything yet. “Dems” don’t get to pick who runs in the primary, they only get to vote for who they want to win the primary. We are well over a year away from anyone voting for anyone, so it’s a bit early to be saying that Dems haven’t learned anything, simply because Joe Biden has decided to run.

  26. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Resistance Ron:

    We had President Trump making a logical and heartfelt argument for border security and the wall. He was calm and reasoned throughout the speech, which was very well delivered.

    We had an adderall addict spouting lies, mis-leading out of context spin, and sniveling for almost 10 minutes.

    Moderators: J-enos is back.

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  27. Jen says:

    @James Pearce:

    On which network?

    “The quarter hour (9-9:15 p.m. ET) containing the president’s speech drew a combined 28.1 household rating in metered markets on ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, CNN, Fox News and NBC. The following 15 minutes, including analysis and the Pelosi-Schumer rebuttal, averaged 29.3 across those same networks, a bump of about 4 percent.” Source

    Also, who cares?

    Individual 1

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  28. James Pearce says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Then why did you ask?

    It was somewhat rhetorical.

    “More people watched the Dem response” is meaningless unless you specify which network\s. You think the Dem response got higher ratings on Fox? Okay…

  29. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @James Pearce:
    See Jen’s link.
    Fox was a wash..which is meaningful in itself.
    BTW…You’re meaningless.

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  30. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    The “Dems” haven’t demonstrated whether they learned anything yet. “Dems” don’t get to pick who runs in the primary, they only get to vote for who they want to win the primary.

    I’m sure the leaders in the Democratic Party, including the president when they have the White House, can try to persuade a particular person to run, offering them a great deal of support and/or sources of donations. Contrariwise, they may also try to discourage someone from running, warning they’ll get no support and/or money.

    I’m also sure there is no unified opinion at the top, nor a hard dictum as to whom will be the candidate for a given year. So it does come down to who wants to run, how they run, and how many votes they garner in the primaries. Nor can they make someone run or not run.

    Given how things work, it’s far more likely party leaders choose whom to support and how as the primary process develops, from the early debates to campaigns to actual vote results.

    And the same goes for the GOP.

  31. James Pearce says:

    @Jen:

    The following 15 minutes, including analysis and the Pelosi-Schumer rebuttal, averaged 29.3 across those same networks, a bump of about 4 percent.

    So wait…a million people tuned into the “following 15 minutes” of the speech and you think it’s because they wanted to see the Pelosi-Schumer rebuttal and not their regularly scheduled programming? Okay…

  32. James Pearce says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    BTW…You’re meaningless.

    Probably shouldn’t be appealing to the moderators if you’re BTWing with that.

  33. mattbernius says:

    @Resistance Ron:

    Wow. It’s like we didn’t even watch the same speech. It was a very good, effective speech.

    No its that you are a core Trump supporter and are predisposed to support him no matter what. In other words, you’re the choir.

    Your high marks for the speech (and Trump’s overall performance) remains ironic considering how, for 8 years, you railed against how petty, classless, and self-obsessed Obama was. Not to mention the accusation that he could only give a coherent speech with a teleprompter.

    But you’ve always been more concerned about owning libs than any sort of honesty.

  34. Neil Hudelson says:

    @mattbernius:

    This is the guy who said that Clint Eastwood’s speech to an empty chair was a “masterful performance.”

    So maybe he just has really bad taste in oration?

  35. Jen says:

    @James Pearce: I don’t know and I don’t really care who was tuning in for what reason.

    You asked a question, I’d seen it referenced elsewhere, so I answered the question. Fin.

  36. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: Exactly

  37. DrDaveT says:

    @James Pearce:

    So wait…a million people tuned into the “following 15 minutes” of the speech and you think it’s because they wanted to see the Pelosi-Schumer rebuttal and not their regularly scheduled programming?

    Seriously? Who the hell tunes in halfway through a one hour prime time slot if the regularly-scheduled program is what they want to watch?

  38. mattbernius says:

    @Neil Hudelson:
    No, I just think he is prepared to say anything online regardless of whether or not he actually believes it in order to get that tingling sensation he gets when he pwns a lib.

    I just hope for his sake this is only an online persona for him.

  39. James Pearce says:

    @DrDaveT: Someone who wants to watch NCIS and every time they tune in, it’s just some idiot in front of a flag going Blah blah blah.

  40. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: A thousand thumbs up, if I could.

  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Pearce: Of which idiot in front of a flag going blah blah blah, do you speak?

  42. Moosebreath says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    “Of which idiot in front of a flag going blah blah blah, do you speak?”

    Pearce’s own personal experience, of course. Like his idol Trump, he cannot conceive of anyone’s thoughts other than his own.

  43. mattbernius says:

    @Neil Hudelson:
    Thanks for a link to that thread. Man, remember when Jenos/RR got on his high horse about how terrible it was that Obama needed to constantly reassert his sense of superiority by demeaning others…

    I’ve noticed Obama’s sense of humor. It usually involves putting down someone else. He seems to need to reassert his sense of superiority by demeaning others.

    Not my personal favorite style of humor (I tend to switch between the absurd, the self-denigrating, and the grossly-exagggerated ego that is a subset of the self-denigrating), but if it appeals to you…

    Well, that says something quite unflattering about you.

    But you know, where’s consistency when there are Libs to own.

  44. MarkedMan says:

    You know, if I wanted to run cover for my boy Trump in this comments section, I wouldn’t trot out a well honed and logical defense because, well, such a defense is not possible. Instead, I might spout the most ludicrous and inane positions, setting up big juicy targets for the other commenters to heap scorn upon, thereby sidetracking every discussion about Trump and Republican malfeasance into a bunch of nonsense posts. Just sayin’…

  45. JohnMcC says:

    @Resistance Ron: Snuffle. Snort. Sniff. Right up your alley, there Ron. Just for you.