'We will build a human wall if necessary' at southern border

Elias Hubbard
February 9, 2019

President Donald Trump appears to be suggesting a military solution to border security if he can not get his much-desired funding for his wall and finds the declaration of a national emergency to be politically unviable as well.

And the makeup of the House chamber - with Democrats newly in the majority and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the chair behind him - will also be very much on display.

Asked on Tuesday if Trump would use the speech to announce an emergency, White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said the president "has an absolute right to do it" but would prefer that lawmakers forge a solution.

Trump's guest list includes Alice Marie Johnson, whose life sentence was commuted by the president a year ago.

The line reflects Trump's 2016 campaign-trail stump speech in which he painted himself as a once-in-a-generation businessman with the skills to strike deals with Democrats and shepherd major legislation on issues Americans identify as their top priorities through both chambers with bipartisan vote tallies. Republicans hold 52 seats to the Democrats' 47 seats in the Senate.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) warned at a political gathering in his home state Monday that there "could be a war within the Republican Party" over President Donald Trump's border wall. With hundreds of thousands of Americans missing pay cheques, Trump ultimately agreed to reopen the government for three weeks to allow negotiations on border security to continue. "He will also call on Congress to replace the NAFTA disaster by approving the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement", said the official. NPR reporters covering the White House, Congress, immigration, national security and more are annotating his remarks live, adding context and analysis.

As he stood before lawmakers, the president was surrounded by symbols of his emboldened political opposition.

The White House also notes that Joshua "loves animals and hopes to pursue a related career in the future", and that Joshua's hero is his Uncle Cody, who serves in the Air Force.

Who will give the Democratic response? She will be the first African American woman to do so.

"She will represent "the face" of the Democratic Party today, and the broad messaging is one around inclusion", Vicino said.

What's different from a year ago?

In late January, Trump signed a bill to fund parts of the government for three weeks before he and Pelosi agreed to schedule the State of the Union for February 5. Tonight, Trump's speech will reflect the fact that he has to work with a Democrat-controlled House under Pelosi's leadership whether he likes it or not.

"One thing you will see is that the chamber is full and the president is surrounded by women, by people of colour, by individuals who have really been hurt by this president and numerous actions that he has taken", Jayapal said.

Trump offered few policy details in his address, but mentioned an initiative on late-term abortion and reiterated his pledge to build a U.S. -Mexico border wall, while touting the strength of the U.S. economy on his watch. So far this year, only five Democrats have publicly announced their decision not to attend, including Georgia Reps. It's nearly a sure bet that the wall, which has become his signature policy proposal, will be prominently featured in his speech, said Costas Panagopoulos, a political science professor at Northeastern. And it makes clear how she can use her political clout and her party can wield the power of the subpoena to thwart Trump's agenda and open investigations into his government and business.

In the chamber will be several Democrats vying to replace Trump and rising party stars such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of NY.

Lawmakers also get to invite guests. Trump's plan to restrict service by transgender men and women is now held up in the courts. He'll speak after Abrams.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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