SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's congressional leaders have reacted to President Donald Trump's televised address to Americans Tuesday evening.
During the speech, which took place during the 18th day of the partial government shutdown, Trump again emphasized the need for funds to build the long-promised border wall.
Several Utah leaders voiced their support for Trump's remarks.
"We have a crisis on our southern border. Our law enforcement personnel are being overrun. We need more border patrol agents, more emergency medical technicians, more immigration judges, and yes, more wall," Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, wrote in a statement.
"We already have 650 miles of wall on the southern border. But it is not enough. President Clinton built wall, President Bush built wall, and even President Obama built wall. Walls work. Let's come together, give the Department of Homeland Security the money they need to address this crisis, and end the shutdown."
Utah's newest congressman and sole democrat, Rep. Ben McAdams, took issue with the president's statements.
"Utahns expect us to work together, find common ground and move forward with solutions. We have important issues to address that will be debated over the coming months but we should have those debates after we've done our basic job of resuming government operations," he wrote in a news release.
"Both parties and President Trump need to work together to end the partial government shutdown. This impasse is unproductive, unnecessary and harms our ability to resolve serious issues such as reforming our broken immigration system and lowering health care costs," McAdams said.
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, was silent Tuesday night.
Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, took to Twitter to call for a bipartisan border security effort.
"Securing our borders and protecting America's national security should not be a partisan issue," Curtis wrote. "Republicans and Democrats need to come together and find an end to this government shutdown in a way that provides the resources needed at the border.
"In addition to infrastructure, this should contain more immigration judges, law enforcement personnel, technology and money to address the humanitarian needs," Curtis said.
He added that if lawmakers can "put political agendas aside," border agencies can get the resources they need "while also protecting the dignity of migrants."
Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, also tweeted to say that Trump "made a compelling case tonight" and to oppose the Democratic response from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer.
"The two Democrat leaders (like many other Dems) voted in the past for physical barriers and border security under previous presidents. Who is really playing politics here? It's time to fix this! Lets get it done!" Stewart tweeted.
Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, also chimed in to say the Democrats are "playing political games."
"This shutdown impasse is entirely due to the misuse of the Senate filibuster. It's not complicated, America should have secure borders," Bishop wrote.
"This is something Democrats have supported for years, until recently. Now they insist on playing political games over 1/10th of 1 percent of government spending," he said, calling for leaders to reopen the government.119 comments on this story
Meanwhile, Luis Garza, executive director of Utah's Comunidades Unidas, a nonprofit Latin community organization, in a statement called Trump's speech "a list of scare tactics, misinformation, and a direct attack on immigrants."
"The facts are not on the President's side: there is no immigration crisis at the border. We have a humanitarian crisis caused by the irresponsible policies and practices of this administration. … The President and Congress should work together to address real issues Utahns are facing such as lack of access to healthcare, living wages, and housing affordability," Garza wrote.