Trump to build case for wall in national address tonight

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(CBS News) — President Trump is making the case to the nation Tuesday night that his border wall must be funded — and that it must be funded now — as the partial government shutdown continues into its third week. It will be his first prime-time address from the Oval Office.

According to the White House, the president will address border security, the partial government shutdown, and the looming threat of the first missed paycheck for federal employees on Friday. Still unclear is whether the president will use his bully pulpit to announce any new policy or approach. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters in Jordan the president would “make a lot of news,” but didn’t say what.

“It’s gonna be about the border, mostly about our southern border. I saw an early version of it. He’ll make a lot of news,” Pompeo told reporters on the ground in Jordan. 

Democrats are requesting air time, too, to respond to Mr. Trump’s remarks. 

Vice President Mike Pence would not say, in an interview with CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett Tuesday morning, whether the president will announce a national emergency in his address. The president is considering doing so, but hadn’t decided as of Monday afternoon, Pence told reporters at the time. 

Pence told “CBS This Morning” Mr. Trump will use the Oval Office address to “lay out the facts about what the American people view as a humanitarian and genuine crisis at our southern border.” 

“The time has come for the Democrats to come to the table, and we have to start negotiating,” Pence said. “Not just to address the government shutdown but to address the humanitarian crisis at the border.”

The White House is demanding $5.7 billion for barriers at the border, in addition to $7 billion for other border-related expenses, like more immigration judges to adjudicate immigration cases. Democrats have yet to formally respond to those demands, but they have already insisted in the past that they won’t hand the president billions for his border wall.

Meanwhile, the government shutdown is starting to affect airports, where more Transportation Security Administration officers are calling in sick than usual. The White House has said tax refunds won’t be affected by the shutdown, but other government services, like food stamps, hang in the balance if the shutdown continues. 

The longest government shutdown lasted for 21 days under former President Bill Clinton over 1995-1996. Tuesday marks the 18th day of the current government shutdown. 

The Oval Office address will air on CBS stations and CBSN at 9 p.m. Eastern. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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