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The national emergency is Trump's presidency, not border crossings

The national emergency is Trump's presidency, not border crossings
President Trump speaks to members of the media outside the White House on Jan. 14. (Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA-EFE/REX)

To the editor: President Trump must contend with a dire emergency all right. But it doesn’t exist at a border, where apprehensions continue to decline. No, it exists inside the White House: Trump’s presidency faces an existential crisis.

In 2016, he dug himself a demagogic hole by promising to build an impenetrable border wall. He dug deeper last fall in the midterm election campaign, exaggerating the harm done by undocumented immigrants.

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Having suffered disappointing election results, Trump agreed to support a bill passed unanimously by the Senate to keep government open. But that changed when hard-right commentators called him on his unfulfilled wall-building promise.

Now, with Democrats controlling the House, it isn’t so easy for Trump to please his base. Desperate times call for desperate measures, hence his “emergency."

David Schaffer, Santa Monica

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To the editor: Trump claims he wants to protect the safety of the American people and therefore needs $5.7 billion to start building a wall along our southern border.

Since there is scant evidence of any real threat to Americans posed by illegal border crossings, perhaps Trump can turn his attention to a very real national emergency — the threat to our safety from mass shootings.

Since 1999, more than 500 Americans have died in mass shootings such as those in Parkland, Fla.; Virginia Tech University; Orlando, Fla.; Isla Vista, Calif.; Columbine High School in Colorado; Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut; and Las Vegas.

Perhaps Trump can address this crisis by exercising his “emergency powers,” which would save many American lives at a cost far less than $5.7 billion.

David Medrano, Alhambra

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To the editor: Neither our political leaders nor our mainstream media have done much to inform the American people as to what the issue of “border security” is really all about.

Trump wants to build a wall, but he fails to explain how a wall will eliminate drug smuggling. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) oppose the wall, but they fail to explain why it wouldn’t cut down on illegal immigration.

Since the shutdown began, much of the media have focused on Trump’s intransigence by reporting his latest tweets and off-the-cuff comments. Although there’s no real news in any of this repetitive nonsense, the media apparently feel obliged to report it, keeping Trump in the public eye.

Under these circumstances, how can we expect the American people to have an informed opinion about the partial shutdown of their government?

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Alexander W. Astin, Los Angeles

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To the editor: It is time for Congress to make clear that for the long-term good of our democracy, Trump’s form of political extortion cannot become an acceptable way for a president to act.

In this case, the leaders from each party need to lock themselves in a room and hammer out an agreement that 67 senators and the majority of House members will support. It should first be to get the government open again and include an absolute requirement for a serious debate leading to comprehensive immigration reform.

Dan Linn, La Jolla

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