WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said the border wall stalemate could all be worked out in a 45-minute meeting. Now he could have the chance to do just that.
Democratic lawmakers have been invited to the White House Wednesday to try and make a deal, fund the wall and reopen the government.
The news comes after Trump took his case for border security directly to the American public in a nine-minute prime-time address delivered from the White House Tuesday.
Sitting behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, the president declared, "This is a humanitarian crisis, a crisis of the heart, a crisis of the soul."
Trump said the southern border is a pipeline for illegal drugs, gangs and human traffickers. The commander in chief stopped short of declaring a national emergency but demanded $5 billion for a border wall as well as additional funds for more agents, judges and humanitarian aid.
"Democrats in Congress have refused to acknowledge the crisis and they have refused to provide our brave border agents with the tools they desperately need to protect our families and our nation," the president said.
Democrats, however, pushed back on that claim, saying a wall is not the answer.
"Most presidents have used Oval Office addresses for noble purposes. This president just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear and divert attention from the turmoil in his administration," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in his rebuttal to the president's Oval Office address Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, the fight is hitting home for some 800,000 federal employees either furloughed or working without pay as a result of the partial government shutdown.
"The fact is President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage – stop manufacturing a crisis and must reopen the government," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) charged.
But Trump said the federal government remains shut down because Democrats won't fund border security, noting that "women and children" are the biggest victims of the broken system.
"I've met with dozens of families whose loved ones were stolen by illegal immigration," Trump said. "I've held the hands of the weeping mothers and embraced the grief-stricken fathers. So sad. So terrible. I will never forget the pain in their eyes, the tremble in their voices, and the sadness gripping their souls."
"Imagine if it was your child, your husband or your wife whose life was so cruelly shattered and totally broken. To every member of Congress – pass a bill that ends this crisis," he said.
President Trump will travel to America's southern border Thursday to see what he is a calling a "crisis" firsthand.