“Simply put, walls work and walls save lives,” Trump added. “So let’s work together, compromise and reach a deal that will truly make America safe. … This is a smart, strategic, see-through steel barrier –not just a simple concrete wall.”
Trump framed border security as a matter of preventing human trafficking, stopping the flow of illegal drugs from Mexico and maintaining federal resources for legal citizens. Democrats, including Ocasio-Cortez, sat on their hands as Trump praised an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent, Elvin Hernandez, for breaking up a notorious human trafficking ring.
But perhaps more than any other issue, the socialism schism brought into sharp relief the differences between the two parties as 2020 looms.
Trump began the portion of his speech by citing the economic decline and civil disorder in Venezuela as a cautionary tale, after his administration last week imposed sweeping sanctions against the regime of Nicolas Maduro.
The country’s government in recent years limited citizens’ access to foreign currency, implemented substantial subsidies and price controls on food and other items, and fell victim to sweeping corruption — before effectively collapsing last month.
“Two weeks ago, the United States officially recognized the legitimate government of Venezuela, and its new interim president, Juan Guaido,” Trump said. “We stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom — and we condemn the brutality of the Maduro regime, whose socialist policies have turned that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair.
“Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country,” Trump continued, prompting boos from Republicans in the chamber. “America was founded on liberty and independence — not government coercion, domination and control. We are born free, and we will stay free.”
Then, after a prolonged chant of “USA” broke out, Trump concluded, “Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.”
Democrats largely remained seated as Republicans resumed the “USA” chant and applauded for several seconds.
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