KASSAM: Trump’s Address Was A Pitch To America’s Conscience

Raheem Kassam | Lincoln Fellow at the Claremont Institute

President Trump’s compelling address this evening laid out the the humanitarian and security implications of not building a border wall, as his Democratic opponents suggest.

His tone was different from usual. He was more humble. More explanatory. There was less “Believe me” and more, “Here’s why you need to believe me.” It looked good on him.

Trump came across as a father figure this evening. As someone genuinely trying to look after the interests of the nation. And not just the nation as a sovereign entity. But of its constituents.

His appeal to the black and Latino minority workers most hurt by illegal immigration showed he is not just interested in pleasing his base during the shutdown saga. He is actively reaching beyond it. And that’s precisely what some feared he wasn’t doing enough of over the past 17 days.

The shutdown is of course being leveraged by the Democrats and the establishment media. CNN literally put a baby on air during an interview last night in order to make the case that President Trump was heartless. But watch as CNN insists over the next 24 hours that POTUS was wrong to cite individual cases where Americans — especially law enforcement officers — were murdered by illegal immigrants.

It’s often one rule for them and another for him. But today, he rose above the partisan fray.

What happens next will be up to Democrats. Will they continue to obstruct over the relatively modest $5 billion the White House wants for the wall, or dig their heels in further?

The reality is that they are probably too wedded to their obstinacy. On the other hand, President Trump’s speech was a poll shifter.

Don’t believe it? Compare Trump’s comments to the optics of a hectoring Nancy Pelosi, and a half asleep Chuck Schumer immediately after.

What were their points? Government workers are suffering? That’s a tough sell to most Americans, who don’t have half the luxuries or benefits of federal employees. What else? That the wall is a waste of money? A bit rich from the Democratic Party of America, and Americans will know that.

Frankly, the Democrats would have fared better putting up talking heads to respond on TV and radio rather than having their two most off-putting characters as the front and center of their rebuttal.

If Trump can continue looking like a steward of security and humanitarian concerns throughout his visit to the border on Thursday, there’s a very good chance he has the wall in the bag.

If the polls on the issue shift enough tomorrow, and talks with Democrats fail, expect him to announce the long-touted national emergency from the border.

At that point, it’s game over for Pelosi and Schumer.

Raheem Kassam is a fellow at the Claremont Institute and the Middle East Forum. He is the author of two bestselling books: “No Go Zones” and “Enoch Was Right.”


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

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