Trump's primetime speech will have fact-checkers working overtime

President Donald Trump will address the nation at 9 p.m. Tuesday from the Oval Office for the first time ever.

He is doing so because he is losing the argument on the ill-advised government shutdown, which he caused and said he would own and which is based on his demand for Congress to fund an ill-advised, unnecessary and unwanted border wall.

Trump will be using a sacrosanct forum — the Oval Office — to further his presidential propaganda. 


He will likely say:

  • There is a national security crisis on the southern border;
  • we are being overrun by terrorists and criminals coming through that border;
  • we are being inundated with illegal drugs, human trafficking and criminal activity; and
  • the only fix is to fund a physical structure. 

The question for Americans as we listen to the president is this: At what point do we say enough is enough? 

Regardless of what the president says Tuesday night and whether he will take the unprecedented step of declaring a national emergency in order to surpass Congress to get funding for the wall, one thing is for sure: He will lie.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump second-term plans remain a mystery to GOP Trump to hold outdoor rally in New Hampshire on Saturday Eighty-eight years of debt pieties MORE has used lies, manipulated government statistics and tried time and again to pull the wool over the eyes of the American people in order to push the wall down our throats. Tonight, he will do more of the same.

He even recently tried to convince us that some of the past living presidents agreed with him on the wall and “wished they had done it.” A quick fact check call to all of them proved that it was yet another outright lie that not even Vice President Mike Pence could spin. 

That never keeps the White House though from dispatching Pence to continue to lie for them. And if Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceCongress gears up for battle over expiring unemployment benefits Secret Service members who helped organize Pence Arizona trip test positive for COVID-19: report Overnight Health Care: Experts fear July 4 weekend will exacerbate coronavirus spread | Texas Gov. Abbott will require masks in most of the state | Fauci warns: 'We are not going in the right direction' MORE’s recent comments about the wall are any indication of what Trump will say tonight, then we can be assured that the White House will be doubling down on numbers that have been debunked, challenged or rendered useless in their argument for the necessity of building the wall now. 

The most misleading statements Trump and his administration officials have stated that most likely will be repeated by Trump tonight are:

According to the Cato Institute, 45,000 "special interest aliens" have been caught since 2007 but no U.S. terror attacks have come from illegal border crossers. 

It should be noted that a large portion of those 17,000 people with criminal backgrounds are those who have been arrested for coming to the country without documents, or for other non-violent acts.

This is more than trying to stretch the truth. This is lying to the American people to try to get something you know is unnecessary and unwanted. 

A couple of more pieces of truth deserve to be underscored before Trump's primetime speech.

  • The counties and cities along the southern border are among the safest in the United States. According to data from the Wilson Center, as summarized by The Washington Post: “The crime rates in U.S. border counties are lower than the average for similarly sized inland counties, with two exceptions out of 23 total.”

There is no national security crisis at the border other than the one Trump is manufacturing himself by making 800,000 federal workers not work or go without pay, many of whom are charged with defending our nation’s borders. 


There is a humanitarian crisis as we see women and children turn themselves in at ports of entry to try and seek refuge and asylum from significant danger back in Central America. But the president is not interested in actually fixing a real problem.  

He is up against the wall for promising a border wall that was supposed to be paid for by Mexico on which he now cannot deliver. Thus, he is using the most powerful imagery available to a commander in chief, and he may declare a national emergency, pulling out all the stops to get what he wants. 

My fellow Americans, enough is enough. We cannot allow the degradation of decency, truth, integrity and democracy to continue. Our country, our families, all of us, must demand better.

Maria Cardona is a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a Democratic strategist and a CNN/CNN Español political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @MariaTCardona.