President Donald Trump is set to address the nation about the ongoing partial government shutdown and his demands for a border wall on Tuesday night. All four major news networks plan to air the event live from the Oval Office, and millions of Americans are expected to watch.
But Trump, who campaigned with a promise to build a “big, beautiful wall” along the U.S.-Mexico border (and to get Mexico to pay for it), has long turned to mistruths and outright lies in an effort to get the structure funded.
Here are some of the biggest falsehoods the president is likely to tell on Tuesday.
That Democrats Want ‘Open Borders’
Trump has regularly claimed that Democrats are the “party of crime” and want “open borders” with Mexico, both blatantly false statements. Leading Democrats have argued for years now that a wall along the southern border would be wasteful and ineffective, instead supporting legislation that would increase border security efforts.
In June, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) pointed out that in 2013, long before Trump was elected, every Senate Democrat supported a $40 billion funding effort to step up protection of the border, a proposal that would have provided funding to hire thousands of border agents and hundreds of miles of fencing.
Dozens of lawmakers have also supported legislation to give young undocumented immigrants who have spent their lives in America, known as Dreamers, a pathway to citizenship.
That Federal Workers Are ‘The Biggest Fan’ Of The Ongoing Partial Government Shutdown
About 800,000 federal employees have been affected by the shutdown thus far. Many have been furloughed, but thousands, including airport security workers, have been forced to go to work without pay while the stalemate continues.
Trump claimed last week that “maybe most of those people ... are the biggest fan of what we’re doing” and that he really believed “a lot of them want to see border security.” But he’s made such assertions without any evidence, and as HuffPost’s Amanda Terkel notes, polls have found most Americans do not support the wall or funding for it.
That Former Presidents Support Building The Wall
All four living former presidents have thrown cold water on Trump’s claim that some of his predecessors “told me that we should have” built the wall.
Former President Jimmy Carter said he didn’t support Trump on the issue. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush told Politico they hadn’t spoken with the White House. Former President Barack Obama has spoken against the wall publicly and hasn’t interacted with Trump since leaving office in 2017, aside from a small encounter at former President George H.W. Bush’s funeral last month.
That Mexico Will Pay For It
Trump’s campaign assertion that the Mexican government would pay for his wall quickly fell away after he assumed office. But the president has continued to promise that America’s southern neighbor would do so through the revised North American Free Trade Agreement that would pay for the structure “many, many times over.”
Outside economists and trade experts told HuffPost’s S.V. Date, however, that any trade benefits won’t be anywhere near the billions of dollars necessary to construct the barrier.
“What it really is is American consumers paying higher prices for stuff,” Monica de Bolle, a trade expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, told HuffPost last week. “So it’s the American consumer who’s paying for the wall, if you want to look at it that way.”
That Thousands Of Criminals And Suspected Terrorists Have Tried To Cross Into The U.S.
Members of the Trump administration have been cherry-picking statistics in thinly veiled attempts to paint migrants attempting to seek asylum in the U.S. as terrorists or gang members. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Friday that 3,000 “special interest aliens” had been apprehended trying to enter the country from the southern border, but that designation applies to anyone who simply comes from a country that has ever produced a terrorist, according to Fox News’ Chris Wallace.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tried to peddle a similarly false statistic in an interview with Wallace on Sunday, saying 4,000 suspected or known terrorists had come into the country illegally while implying that they had passed through the southern border. But Wallace said that was a mistruth, and in fact those people had been taken into custody at airports.
Studies show that undocumented immigrants commit less crime than native-born citizens, and states with more undocumented people have less crime than states with fewer.