New England's mostly Democratic Legislature reacted to Donald Trump after the president took to prime-time television Tuesday to push for a wall on the border between the U.S. and Mexico.
The disagreement between the White House and Democratic congressmen over funding for Trump's long-promised wall has kept the federal government partially shut down for 18 days.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke to nationwide audiences after Trump, arguing against the wall and highlighting the still-shuttered government. Lawmakers across New England did the same on social media.
"President Trump has stated tonight, and over and over again in recent weeks, that this country faces a national emergency. Well, he's right. But it is an emergency and a crisis that he, himself, has created," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said in a video response livestreamed on multiple social media channels.
On the subject of the shutdown, Sanders urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow a spending bill passed by House Democrats on Jan. 3 to reach the Senate floor for a vote.
"This is the same bill that Mr. McConnell supported when it was unanimously passed in the Senate," Sanders said. "Sen. McConnell, let's vote to end this shutdown now in a bipartisan way."
"For more than two weeks now, the President has held the paychecks of over 800,000 Americans hostage in order to extort Congress into funding his border wall — a wall for which he promised the American taxpayers, over and over again, that Mexico would pay," Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said in a series of tweets beginning shortly before Trump's address. "Everyone agrees that we need to secure our borders, but there are smart ways to do it, and a wall is not one of them. It is a 5th Century solution to a 21st Century problem."
"Building a border wall won’t make us any safer," Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) tweeted. "You know what will? Ending this ridiculous #TrumpShutdown and making sure vital agencies like the US Coast Guard, TSA, and federal law enforcement have the funds they need to maintain our national security."
"The truth is that there are more Americans today going without their paychecks because of the #TrumpShutdown than immigrants who illegally crossed the southern border in the past two years," Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) wrote in a tweet.
"The American people favor secure borders and comprehensive immigration reform. But they do not believe the federal government and its workforce should be held hostage in the process. #EndTheShutdown," added Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.)
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) said Trump was playing "games" at the expense of people's safety.
"This is political theatre. These games are putting our national security at risk," Moulton tweeted. "If Trump wants to build a wall that will actually work and is actually needed, let's build a cyber wall to protect our democracy from Russia."
"Nothing President Trump said tonight demonstrates that this wall is anything more than a monument to himself .... The real crisis we need to address is one of President Trump’s own making — a government shutdown that has now finished its 18th day," Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree wrote on Twitter. "I urge President Trump to put the American people first and end his shutdown now."
"That was a news-free, unremarkable and predictable speech," Sen. Chris Murphy (D, Conn.) tweeted. "Now open the damn government."