Prime-time flop: Trump’s scripted speech was futile
The question to be addressed was: Is building a $5.7-billion wall a solution to illegal immigration?
By Vicky Kapur (From the Executive Editor's desk)
Published: Wed 9 Jan 2019, 6:00 PM
Last updated: Thu 10 Jan 2019, 8:50 AM
A US president who came to power on the back of his promise to build a border wall with Mexico shuts down his own government when the parliament doesn’t sanction the money needed to build that wall. On day 18 of the shutdown, the President decides to address the nation, to appeal to the sensibilities of likeminded people on the dire need for building that wall to keep what he calls “drug dealers, criminals, rapists” out of his country. All television networks agree to air his speech over prime-time, hoping for it to be a fiery, impassioned, animated appeal that will make Democrats and other fence-sitters cross the wall.
Did you watch Donald Trump’s damp squib of a speech on the border wall? It was an emotionless, dispassionate narrative delivered with a deadpan look. Trump has repeated the ‘thousands of lives will be lost if we don’t act now’ rhetoric on so many occasions that it fails to move even his most loyal supporters leave alone sceptics and critics. It was like he wasn’t convinced on making that speech at all… but then why make it? Every year, America proudly welcomes millions of lawful immigrants and that all Americans are hurt by uncontrolled illegal migration, he said. No one in their right minds will argue with that.
The question to be addressed was: Is building a $5.7-billion wall a solution to illegal immigration? Trump did not even begin to address this, however. He repeatedly pointed out how the presence of thousands of women and children at the southern border is a humanitarian crisis. It is as much a humanitarian crisis as is the act of separating toddlers from their parents for months. For a president known to tweet his heart, reading from a prepared script was hardly going to swing Democrats his way. It didn’t. Maybe Trump should stick to Twitter and not waste prime airtime the next time he wants to make an appeal.