WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump urged congressional Democrats to fund his long-promised border wall Tuesday night in a somber televised address that was heavy with dark immigration rhetoric but offered little in the way of concessions or new ideas to break the standoff that has left large swaths of the government shuttered for 18 days.
Speaking to the nation from the Oval Office for the first time, Trump argued the wall was needed to resolve a security and humanitarian "crisis," blaming illegal immigration for what he said was a scourge of drugs and violence in the U.S. and asking: "How much more American blood must we shed before Congress does its job?"
Democrats in response accused Trump appealing to "fear, not facts" and manufacturing a border crisis for political gain.
Using the formal trappings of the White House, Trump hoped to gain the upper hand in the standoff over his demand for $5.7 billion to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. He plans a visit to the border Thursday as he continues to pitch what was a signature promise of his 2016 presidential campaign.
He addressed the nation as the shutdown stretched through its third week, with hundreds of thousands of federal workers going without pay and some congressional Republicans growing increasingly jittery about the spreading impact of the impasse. Trump will visit the Capitol today to meet with Senate Republicans, and has invited Democratic and Republican congressional leaders to return to the White House to meet with him later that day.
He claimed the standoff could be resolved in "45 minutes" if Democrats would just negotiate, but previous meetings have led to no agreement.
For now, Trump sees this as winning politics. TV networks had been reticent about providing him airtime to make what some feared would be a purely political speech. And that concern was heightened by the decision Tuesday by Trump's re-election campaign to send out fundraising emails and text messages to supporters trying to raise money off the speech. Their goal: A half-million dollars in a single day.
"I just addressed the nation on Border Security. Now need you to stand with me," read one message sent out after his remarks.
In their own televised remarks, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer accused Trump of misrepresenting the situation on the border as they urged him to reopen closed government departments and turn loose paychecks for hundreds of thousands of workers.
Negotiations on wall funding could proceed in the meantime, they said.
Schumer said Trump "just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear and divert attention from the turmoil in his administration."
In his dire address, Trump ticked off a string of statistics and claims to make his case that there is a crisis at the border, but a number of his statements were misleading, such as saying the new trade deal with Mexico would pay for the wall, or suggesting through gruesome examples that immigrants are more likely to commit crime.
Trump, who has long railed against illegal immigration at the border, has recently seized on humanitarian concerns to argue there is a broader crisis that can only be solved with a wall. But critics say the security risks are overblown and the administration is at least partly to blame for the humanitarian situation.
Trump used emotional language, referring to Americans who were killed by people in the country illegally, saying: "I've met with dozens of families whose loved ones were stolen by illegal immigration. I've held the hands of the weeping mothers and embraced the grief-stricken fathers. So sad. So terrible."
The president often highlights such incidents, though studies over several years have found immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than people born in the United States.
Trump has been discussing the idea of declaring a national emergency to allow him to move forward with the wall without getting congressional approval for the billions he's requested. But he did not mention that Tuesday night.
Trump was nearly halfway through his 9-minute address before he ever mentioned the border wall, describing it as a request from law enforcement rather than his own longstanding political pledge. He also suggested that his proposal to build the wall from steel, rather than concrete, was a concession to Democrats, although they don't see it that way.
Trump sought to put the blame on Democrats for the shutdown, which reached its 18th day, saying they "will not fund border security." In fact, House Democrats passed legislation the day they took control of the House that offered $1.3 billion for border security. And Senate Democrats have approved similar funding year after year.
Ahead of the speech, the White House sought to shore up GOP support on Capitol Hill, where a growing number of Republicans have been expressing unease with the extended shutdown. But GOP lawmakers were still raising concerns Tuesday, talking about disruptions in payments to farmers and troubles for home buyers trying to get government-backed mortgage loans.
ELKO — Nevada Assemblyman John Ellison weighed in on immigration and the partial government shutdown Jan. 8 in anticipation of President Donald Trump’s Tuesday evening address.
“They just use [the shutdown] as a ploy to get people to the table,” Ellison said, adding that he thinks parts of the government should re-open to allow federal employees to get back to work.
“These people are not getting paid,” he said. “These people have families.”
The recently re-elected assemblyman from Elko said there is “an issue we have got to face one way or another.”
The governmental stalemate over the national budget between the Democrat-controlled Congress and President Trump was in its 18th day, one of the longest in history. Trump continues to demand funding for a wall along the country’s southern border.
“Listening to the experts on the wall, I think they ought to do something,” Ellison said, citing his concerns over human and drug trafficking. “Should they build a wall? I agree they should.”
He said he expects that the partial government shutdown soon will be lifted, even if it is because Trump uses an executive order to build the wall rather than through negotiations.
“We’ll know tonight,” Ellison said. “It’s a wait and see kind of thing.”
ELKO – A Carlin elementary school teacher pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine on Monday.
Charlotte E. Rhoden, 37, was arraigned Jan. 7 in Elko District Court on one count of possession of a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance for the purpose of sale, a category D felony.
She pleaded guilty before Judge Nancy Porter in accordance with a plea agreement filed Oct. 5 that dropped one count of trafficking in a Schedule I controlled substance, a category B felony, court documents say.
Rhoden was arrested Sept. 7 after midnight in a construction zone outside of Carlin on multiple charges including using or possessing drug paraphernalia, furnishing a controlled substance to a prisoner, and speeding.
Carlin Police Chief Dennis Fobes told the Elko Daily Free Press that officers found 13.5 grams of methamphetamine and sales and drug paraphernalia in her car.
Rhoden, a fourth-grade teacher at Carlin Combined Schools, was placed on paid administrative leave by the Elko County School District following her arrest.
A person convicted of the charge could receive one to four years in prison and be ordered to pay a fine of $5,000.
Sentencing was set for April 1.
ELKO — Newmont Mining Corp. plans to reduce the workforce at its Carlin operations by about 120 employees over the next couple weeks.
“Newmont has carefully evaluated multiple options for meeting our 2019 business plan, but due to the current economics of operating Emigrant and impacts from the Gold Quarry slide in October 2018, all viable plans revealed that we have more staff than what is required,” Newmont wrote in an email to the Elko Daily Free Press on Jan. 8.
A slide occurred in the Gold Quarry open pit Oct. 5, and operations were suspended in the southwest area of the pit and related Chukar underground mine. Subsequently, the company decreased its production guidance, according to Newmont’s third-quarter report and 2019 production outlook.
Emigrant is another open pit within the Carlin operations, where the company has mined since 1965. A footnote in Newmont’s third-quarter results states that there was a leach pad “write-down at Emigrant due to a change in mine plan, resulting in a significant decrease in mine life in the third quarter of 2018.”
Newmont stated that on Jan. 7 it notified the union that covers the 120 hourly bargaining unit employees to be laid off at the Carlin operations. Management is expected to meet with impacted employees over the next two weeks in accordance to employees’ work schedules, and the reduction in workforce is effective March 9, the company stated.
“We realize this situation creates uncertainty for some of our employees and their families, but these decisions had to be made to ensure the long-term sustainability of our operations,” states a Newmont memo addressed to all North America employees dated Jan. 8.
A copy of the memo was provided to the Elko Daily by an anonymous source.
“[O]ur focus remains on our employees as we work through this transition,” Newmont stated.
Newmont’s Nevada operations employ approximately 5,000 employees and contractors, according to the company’s website.
ELKO – A Spring Creek man was killed Tuesday morning when his commercial truck crashed on State Route 278 approximately 38 miles north of Eureka.
Zachariah Schuchard, 33, was driving a large work truck south on the highway shortly after 7 a.m. when he allowed the vehicle to drift off the right paved shoulder, according to a preliminary investigation by the Nevada Highway Patrol.
In an attempt to regain the roadway, Schuchard steered to the left, causing the vehicle to rotate and cross both lanes before overturning onto its roof at the side of the road.
Schuchard was wearing his seatbelt but died from his injuries at the scene, the NHP reported.