WASHINGTON—As the partial government shutdown heads into its third week, the president has made it clear he won’t sign a spending bill that doesn’t contain $5.6 billion toward a wall on the Southwest border. Vice President Mike Pence met with congressional representatives over the weekend to try to hash out a deal.
President Donald Trump has brought out border agents and the Homeland Security secretary to emphasize how a wall could diminish cross-border crime, while Democrats have continued to say that a wall would be expensive and ineffective.
The Epoch Times reached out to Trump rally-goers from across the country to find out what they think. We asked two questions:
1) Do you think Trump should continue the partial government shutdown until he gets $5 billion for the border fence? Why/why not?
2) What’s your opinion on the Democrats’ stance on the wall funding?
Some responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Catrina Albo, homemaker, New Jersey
“Yes, I think Trump is spot-on with the partial government shutdown. Border security is not an option for the United States. We welcome immigrants… [but] people who cross any of our borders illegally are breaking the law. We the American citizens are then faced with supporting them financially, medically, and educationally (if they have children) through our tax dollars. This is a burden to our economy, school systems and communities. We are a nation of laws, and those laws must be enforced to keep order. That’s a fact of any civilized society. Trump must stand firm. The shutdown is tough love for our country!
“I find it amusing how many of the Democrats who supported a wall in the not-too-distant past are now vehemently opposed to its existence. Trump is an unconventional politician. He’s a businessman first and a very charismatic public figure, with an ability to influence and make deals. Establishment politicians can’t predict his next move and this rattles them. Their reaction to the wall funding is out of fear. They are simply afraid of the unknown.”
CaSandra Affolter, self-employed, Akron, Ohio
“I think [Trump] should stand his ground. It’s clear [that] in the past, Democrats have called for a wall, fence, border security, etc.
“I’m very upset the Democrats will not come to the table. They have a job to do and that is what they were hired for. They need to make a deal with the president. Unfortunately, they are too busy vacationing and resisting—they’ve forgotten national security is a bipartisan issue.”
Len Spadaro, truck driver and Desert Storm veteran, Hazleton, Pennsylvania
“I have never felt so strongly about an issue, since I can remember. There has never been a president, ever, that had the guts and courage to stand up to the evil liberals that have created this crisis to begin with, with their anti-American, unconstitutional laws, loopholes, and sheer stupidity!
“[Democrats] all are getting schooled by the ‘Master Negotiator’-in-chief!! They seem to think that President Trump is the fool, because he ‘owns’ the shutdown. Little do they know, realize, or even care how far out of touch they are with the pulse of America, what we want, what we wanted in our president, and what minced meat he is making of them right now.”
Dan Cooley, forester, West Virginia
“Yes. The United States of America is my home. I want to live in a country and raise my family in a place where I am safe and protected. President Trump genuinely cares about the citizens of the United States of America. He desires a safe and secure America. Our federal government is mandated to protect our country (read the Constitution). President Trump is trying to do his job, and I support that 100 percent.
“The Democrats are selfish and only concerned about themselves, their socialist agenda, and what they can personally gain. This is so obvious by the hypocrisy, childish tantrums, lies, and corruption that they promote. The bottom line is that the Democrats hate Trump and his supporters, and will stop at nothing to ruin the president and, yes, they will ultimately ruin our great country.”
Casie Steeves, marketing, Rochester, Minnesota
“Absolutely. It was his main campaign promise and with all the caravans and illegal people crossing the border, it’s important to slow the amount of people coming here illegally.
“[Democrats] are just resisting and trying to rally their base. In my opinion, their main goal is as many illegal people here as possible, because they believe it means more supporters (and, in turn, votes) for them.”
Victor Bellino, student
“[Trump] should continue the shutdown for now. If he backs down now, it would anger many of his supporters and endanger him in the upcoming 2020 election. He should follow through with one of his largest campaign promises, if possible.
“[Democrats] aren’t giving him the funding purely to make a stance, and to try to make a fool out of the president. Compared to the money that we put towards other programs in this country, the $5 billion for the wall is just a drop in the bucket. I believe the longer they deny border security, the more and more people will begin to realize how dangerous the radical left can be.”
Becky Cline, manufacturing, Rosehill, Virginia
“I fully support the president continuing the government shutdown. Crimes are being committed, and some very bad people are getting into our country. The wall needs to be built. Not only are these illegal immigrants receiving taxpayer-funded assistance, but they are destroying lives of American citizens who have worked hard.
“Democrats are showing their true colors going after Trump, and it will backfire. The American citizens are watching it all unfold and seeing how absurd their behavior is. They aren’t doing anything other than fighting against Trump, which is not what they were elected to do.”
Tiffany Short, manufacturing, Rosehill, Virginia
“Yes. Our country has far too many illegal immigrants. We see a lot of illegal drugs come across the border, and human trafficking is a problem. The wall would be a huge deterrent.
“[Democrats] are only not giving in to the wall funding for the fact that Trump supports it. They refuse to work with him even on things that will help America tremendously in the long run. We need this for America. We need to make our security a top priority and put Americans first. If you want to come here, there is a proper channel to go through—one that will weed out criminals, and drug cartel members, and terrorists.”
Jared Totsch, communications industry, St. Louis
“Yes. Most of the current and recent actions and involvement of the federal government exceeds the scope of the 10th Amendment. One of the few powers specifically granted to the federal government by the Constitution is border security and national defense. This is why building a physical barrier along our southern border should be the top priority of the federal government.
“The Democrats are being hypocrites and two-faced. They actually supported border-wall funding in the past, but have now changed their tune because President Trump is in the White House. Aside from resisting all things Trump, other reasons Democrats don’t want the wall include: operating on emotions instead of facts/logic/reason, and attempting to import votes from illegal immigrants who tend to vote Democrat.”
Will Schimmels, mechanical engineer, Wisconsin
“Oh yeah, [Trump] should have asked for three times that amount. [He] should hold out for the entire wall, because this is what matters to American families. Moms want safety for their kids.
“Democrats are going nowhere, and they know it.”
Floyd Conaway, veteran
“Yes the partial shutdown should continue as long as it’s effective at putting some pressure on the Democrats to accomplish the president’s goals, which includes building the wall.
“The Democrats care more about their special-interest groups [and] the special-interest funding and kickbacks they receive from them. They care more about illegal immigrants and votes they receive from them, than the safety of the American people and security of our country and its borders.”
Rita Eveland, retired, Nashville
“I hope with all my heart that President Trump holds his ground with this government shutdown. We are tired of our social-welfare programs being overrun with illegals that are trained to game our system. We have a path to citizenship and it works. You cannot break into our country and demand to be cared for by everyday, hard-working Americans. We have homeless vets of our own to care for. Period. No taxation without representation! We fought a war about that before and we’re ready to do it again. These Dems and RINO Republicans no longer represent us.
“[Democrats] are, as usual, giving all form and no substance. They claim to be doing a lot of things, but the truth is that they want to flood the country through open borders with a dependent class that will vote Democrat. It’s been their plan for years.”
Brandi Adams, self-employed, Robbinsville, North Carolina
“If it takes months shutting down the government to get the wall, then I stand with Trump all the way.
“It seems the Democrats forget really easily all the lives lost due to MS-13 and how they were illegal immigrants that took those lives. Not all immigrants are bad people, but they should, as in any other country, enter the country legally. [Democrats] are like a bunch of spoiled babies not getting their way anymore, so now they are pitching a fit.”
Ed Halland, retired, Montana
“As a retired federal employee with 42 years of service, I totally support continuing the government shutdown. First, standing firm lets the world know that we mean business and will stand on principle without compromise. Second, it lets the American people know which agencies are essential and which are not. Third, if Donald Trump compromises on this issue, his credibility will be lost.
“I believe that the Democrats stance on wall funding is just a tool to implement their real agenda of power accumulation and eliminating Christianity from the public square. They can accumulate power with votes from illegal aliens who are dependent on government programs and persecute anyone who has an allegiance to something higher that the ‘state.’”
Mark Hoffman, self-employed
“Yes, continue the shutdown.
“Odd how Democrats were for border security years ago. Perhaps the better question would be for them: ‘Why are you against border security now when you were all for it years ago?’”
Nena Chancy, Tampa
“He cannot cave to the Dems on this issue. I hate that it has caused a government shutdown, but he needs to hold firm. The wall is a vital part of security for our nation. I feel that anyone that locks their doors at night and says they’re against the wall is a hypocrite.
“The Dems have made it a political issue. They are much more concerned with opposing our president than the welfare of our nation.”
Don Hindman, Bikers for Trump
“Absolutely. Maybe even more.
“The Democratic Party should be renamed the Hypocritic Elite Party. They all were for the wall up until Trump. And the word games being played are disgraceful. If the lamestream media actually reported what is happening, I’m sure many, many more Americans would be in support. I am completely sickened and angry every time I see a report of another child or person being killed by an illegal alien.”
Pat McDonough, electronic technician, Rochester, Minnesota
“Yes. The border issue has been going on too long and needs to be fixed. The wall should have been built long ago. The crime by illegals and money spent on them could be used elsewhere.
“The Democrats seem to have their own agenda. It’s time to back down and join the majority to build the wall.”
Betty Risinger, retired, Las Vegas
“Yes, My husband and son both work for FAA [Federal Aviation Administration]. Husband worked for 40 years and went through all shutdowns—we survived with little trouble. Keep the government shut down until the full $5 billion is passed.
“Terrible, drives me crazy, Have to stop watching the news to prevent damage to my sanity and TV.”
Mike Alicea, retired banker
“I do believe that he needs to stand firm. We need a wall to stop the inflow of people whom we simply cannot afford. How on one hand, we can lament about social security being exhausted, our national debt skyrocketing, and other financial woes such as student loan debt, yet we should shy away from the math. Each illegal immigrant costs approximately $35,000 a year in benefits. And, p.s., they are breaking the law, You just can’t pick and choose which laws you like and ignore the rest.
“[Democrats] hate Trump so much, they don’t care about the people. Funny how when [Mitt] Romney and [John] McCain were running that the Dems thought the wall was imperative. The DACA situation could be resolved in a minute if they would just put their Trump Derangement Syndrome in check.”
Kirsten N., dental hygienist, Minnesota
“Yes. A government shutdown shows to the rest of us the excessive bloat of the federal government, maybe trim some fat in some of those agencies.
“My opinion on the Democrats is that they only oppose it because the president wants it, and all his supporters. There was a time that they wanted border security just as much as now, but now it is immoral, un-American, abusive, and harms the children. What about the safety of American citizens and resources? The double standard is glaring at us all.”