On Thursday, United States President Donald Trump paid a visit to McAllen, Texas in an effort to build support for his desired border wall. This visit comes just one day before the three-week anniversary of the latest government shutdown.
Trump and his administration are fighting tooth and nail to convince Democrats to fund the controversial border wall along the United States and Mexico border. It is this conflict that has led to the massive government shutdown and precipitated Trump’s visit to the border. Although Trump is standing firm in his belief that a wall is necessary for national security purposes, he came under sharp criticism for backtracking his idea on who was going to pay for the wall.
During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump was insistent that Mexico would pay for the wall. Despite insistence by Mexican government authorities that they would never pay any money for this wall, Trump continued to use the rhetoric at all of his campaign rallies. The idea became a rallying cry, galvanizing his supporters around this one key immigration issue. Skeptics knew all along that Mexico would never pay for the wall. And now Trump is coming under fire for not fulfilling this central campaign promise.
Trump told reporters on Thursday that he did not actually mean that Mexico would write a check for the billions of dollars that it would take to construct the wall. He is now insisting that they will pay for it indirectly through the new trade agreement, a far cry from his campaign rhetoric.
The president is now threatening to exercise his executive powers to declare a national emergency at the southern border. This declaration would free up the necessary funds to begin construction on the wall. However, critics of the president point out that this would be held up in court and never come to fruition.
How this will all play out remains to be seen. What is certain is that it looks like the fate of the government shutdown remains in the balance because of the controversy at the border.