Like him or not, one has to concede that President Trump’s speechwriting team does not do him any favors. This was perhaps never more evident than during the President’s primetime speech to the nation this past week, wherein he made his strongest plea yet for a border wall. It could have been, and needed to be, a lot better.
A speech can’t just be a policy statement where you regurgitate a bunch of tired and unoriginal platitudes to balance out those the other side will use. It’s a military campaign. And in a military campaign, you need to invade your opponents’ territory, and you need to open with an artillery barrage.
So I would have started with a bunch of quotes from prominent Democrats about how they support border security, without even acknowledging that they have now changed their tune:
My fellow Americans. If there is one thing that Republicans and Democrats have been able to agree on these past years, it is the need for a secure border. As President Obama said, “We simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, unchecked, and circumventing the line of people who are waiting patiently, diligently, and lawfully to become immigrants in this country.” He’s right.
He also said that fencing on our border is “badly needed” and that “better fences and better security along our borders should help stem some of the tide of illegal immigration in this country.”
He’s right about that as well, and he would know, because as president, Barack Obama deported over two-and-a-half million people, more than any other American president in history. And as a senator, Barack Obama, and his colleague Hillary Clinton, both voted for bills that funded a border wall. They were right to do so.
Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer, who is scheduled to speak to you tonight after my message, agreed with them, saying “We must create a system that converts the current flow of primarily low-skilled illegal immigrants, into a more manageable and controlled flow of legal immigrants who can be absorbed by our economy.” He went on to say that “Illegal immigration is wrong, plain and simple. Until the American people are convinced that we will stop future flows of illegal immigration, we will make no progress on dealing with the millions of illegals here now. That’s plain and simple and unavoidable.” He’s right.
You’ll also hear tonight from Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who voted for a bill funding 700 miles of border wall just six years ago, saying “We do need to address the issue of immigration and the challenge we have of undocumented people in our country. We certainly do not want any more coming in.” She’s right as well.
And so is Democrat Senator Diane Feinstein, the ranking senator from California, who was just reelected this November, and who said: “Border control is a federal responsibility. We simply don’t enforce our borders adequately. The day when America can be the welfare system for Mexico is gone. It’s a competition for space, whether the space is a job, the space is a home, or the space is a seat in a classroom.” I could not have said it better myself. And that’s why I join them in demanding stronger, secure borders, understanding, as they have said with their words and votes, that a wall is critical to that effort.
And I would not just read these quotes. I’d read them while the video switches to show the quotes in print next to a picture of the person being quoted.
Trump then transitioned to explaining why the southern border is so problematic, and he used some pretty powerful statistics, saying “In the last two years, I.C.E. Officers made 266,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records including those charged or convicted of 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 violent killings.” Those should have been on the screen. He also should have added:
But it’s not enough to spout numbers. Trump needed to explain why illegal immigration is so dangerous, and be totally unapologetic about:
This is not a coincidence. This is a natural result of the United States sharing an unsecured border with the most dangerous part of the world. Seventeen of the twenty most dangerous countries in the world are south of the United States, along with forty-five of the fifty most dangerous cities in the world. This is a matter of national security and personal safety. The worry is not so much terrorism. The worry is that we are the only developed nation in the world that shares a border with a totally undeveloped part of the world, whose chief exports are crime and poverty. We cannot hope to solve our crime and poverty problems if we keep importing everyone else’s. We cannot hope to solve our opioid crisis, which claims seventy thousand American lives per year, seven times as many as are murdered by guns, as long as we maintain an open land bridge between ourselves, and all the drug cartels that run Central and South America, who make their money poisoning our communities! As it is, 26% of all federal inmates are illegal aliens, almost all of whom are there for trafficking drugs into our communities, crippling our cities, and poisoning our schools.
I’d have avoided altogether the references to specific killings of specific Americans, because that makes the problem sound more isolated, rather than general, and you want to keep the entire audience engaged here. I’d also have avoided any reference to the shutdown, which nobody cares about, and which will get blamed on the Democrats if you can blame the immigration crisis on them. And that means establishing that it’s a crisis, so here you have to talk about how illegal immigration hurts all Americans, and in particular our poorest, most vulnerable citizens:
And that says nothing about the financial costs. As Bill Clinton so correctly said: “Illegal immigration costs the taxpayers of the United States a lot of money, and it’s unfair to Americans who are working every day to pay their own bills.”
According to a recent study by Yale and MIT, we presently have 22 million people here illegally. If they were a state, they’d be our third largest state, behind only California and Texas, and ahead of New York and Florida. Even if the number is only half that, as some people think, to pretend this does not impose immense costs on everyone else is silly!
We will spend over $100 billion at the federal and state levels this year on welfare benefits for illegal immigrants, and that does not even include the costs of additional infrastructure needed, like additional housing, police, and classrooms, and increased healthcare costs necessitated to subsidize people who simply can’t pay for it. Americans demand and deserve affordable healthcare. But it will never be affordable as long as Americans have to pay both for themselves, and for anyone else who just decides to show up.
When I speak of making America great, I mean great for ALL Americans, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, native, and legal immigrant.
But we are asking too much of you. We can’t continue to ask middle-class Americans to pay more in taxes that they already can’t afford, and more in healthcare that they already can’t afford, and accept a lower standard of living that they shouldn’t have to. We can’t continue to ask poor Americans to expect less in terms of the government benefits they need, less in terms of classroom space for their children, and less in terms of jobs and wages available to them, because we treat our immigration system like an anti-poverty program for the rest of the world!
As Democrat Senator Bernie Sanders said, open borders “substantially lower wages in this country.” And he rightly pointed out the racist effect this has on black and Hispanic Americans, saying “When you have 36-percent of Hispanic kids in this country who can’t find jobs, and you bring a lot of unskilled workers in the country, what do you think happens to that 36-percent of kids of today who are unemployed? 51% of African-American kids [are unemployed]. I frankly do not believe we should be bringing in significant numbers of unskilled workers to compete with those kids.”
He’s right. Open borders is a racism that takes away opportunities, and resources, and jobs, from America’s minorities. This is the worst kind of racism! Indeed, to continue to allow illegal immigrants to take advantage of middle class and poor Americans is to support the very sort of social injustice, and inequality of opportunity, that Democrats and Republicans both say they oppose.
I love stealing Democrat talking points and turning them around.
Finish up the money section this way:
People ask how we will pay for this wall. This wall pays for itself just by reducing the amount of people coming in who we’d have to pay for. Plus, it only costs one-tenth of one percent of our budget, and we will spend it on American contractors who hire American workers. So even if you don’t like the idea of a border wall, you can think of it as a jobs program. Democrats spent $700 billion on economic stimulus during the last Administration. I’m only asking for $5 billion.
And then I’d talk about all the great social programs we could finance with the money we would not have to spend on illegals, and basically steal the entire Democrat platform from them:
And with the money we would save, just on benefits for people who should not be here, we could begin financing programs like student loan forgiveness, and a universal promise of affordable college for all Americans, so that every American who wants to can get a college education and graduate debt free. No longer should the community or the family condition that you are born into determine your future.
We can also begin talking about universal daycare programs, so our poor don’t have to turn down the jobs they need to elevate themselves out of poverty.
And, most importantly to me, we could support a “No Child Left Hungry” program. We have 20 million children in this country who are food insecure, who have to worry about where their next meal is coming from. Until that number is zero, our charity must be for them, and nobody else.
That should have every Democrat’s head spinning. Then wrap it up:
Of course, a wall will not stop all illegal immigration. We need more ICE agents, we need more immigration courts, and we need stricter penalties for entering the country illegally, such as mandatory incarceration even for first-time offenders. We are far too tolerant of this and we must both disincentivize and deter it. And even then, this problem will never be one hundred percent solved, because no problem ever is. So a wall is not the complete answer, but it is a critical part of a greater, broader strategy to turn illegal immigration from a national crisis, into only isolated incidents, and thereby dedicate our national resources to the Americans who need it most.
President Obama’s Border Control Chief said it best when he said, just this week, that a border wall is “the right thing to do for this country. I’m begging the president to stay the course.”
Don’t worry. I will. Because as long as I am President of the United States, I will be President FOR the United States, and for ALL its citizens, and in particular, our most vulnerable.
Thank you, and God bless you, and God bless the American people.
That’s how you give a speech. You don’t simply declare your position. You declare war.