Trump address and Democrat response show ideological divide 'still quite wide'

Tim Jimenez
January 09, 2019 - 8:10 am
From left: Sen. Pat Toomey, Sen. Bob Casey

Nabil K. Mark/Centre Daily Times/MCT/Sipa USA; Chris Dunn/York Daily Record via USA TODAY NETWORK


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — President Donald Trump's Tuesday primetime address on border security from the Oval Office has lawmakers and analysts talking. 
Kelly Dittmar, a political science teacher at Rutgers-Camden, says she doesn't think the president's Tuesday night address will change anything immediately. She says the president and the Democrats are digging in their heels. 

"It doesn't seem like they're any closer to a compromise. He sort of doubled down on his arguments, and the Democrats reaffirmed theirs in their rebuttal to his remarks," she said. "So, unfortunately I think it demonstrated that the divide between this administration and Congress, specifically the Democrats in Congress, is still quite wide."

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Dittmar says the president's pitch was very likely a big hit for his most ardent supporters.

"Where he has been successful with this message is among the folks who voted for him in the first place because of this idea of a border wall," she said. "So he's only reaffirming the same statements he's been making since the 2016 election — in fact, since the first day of his candidacy."

Among those approving of the president's message is Sen. Pat Toomey. 

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The Pennsylvania Republican said in a statement, "We heard a clear case for boosting security and humanitarian aid funding at our southern border. I support these objectives, provided taxpayer dollars are used efficiently and effectively."

His Democratic counterpart, Sen. Bob Casey, tweeted from the other side: "Shut down the goverment to force the construction of a wall that security experts say5 won't work. A concrete or steel wall is not border security."

Casey added the president should sign a bill the House passed that would reopen the government and allocate $1 billion for border security. But none of that money would go towards the wall the president is looking to build. 

RELATED: Pelosi, Schumer rebut Trump wall speech

Congressman Brendan Boyle, a Democrat out of Pennsylvania's second district, says the president is fighting a losing battle. 

"So, I am quite concerned that, now that the president has dug in his heels, there's no obvious way out of this political problem," Boyle said.

And if the shutdown continues, Boyle says it would be a bigger problem for the government workers who aren't getting paid and the economy overall.