Local Party Chairs React to President Trump’s Border Address

Both parties want more border security...but disagree about how to do it.

9&10 News met up with Grand Traverse County Democratic and Republican leaders Tuesday night who watched the president’s speech.

The chairs of both county parties watched together and gave their thoughts afterwards.

Both party leaders agreed that border security is important although they disagreed about how to do it.

Grand Traverse Republican chair John Roth says President Trump had a measured address Tuesday night and is staying tough on his immigration policies.

“He stayed to the script, I like that, he didn’t deviate and wander off, he stayed to the main points…he hit the very important things he wanted to get through: security, and drugs coming across our border,” said Roth.

The chair of the Grand Traverse Democrats, Chris Cracchiolo, also agreed he stuck to the script.

Cracchiolo does support more border security but not necessarily in the form of the president’s border wall.

“As far as security, we do need to beef it up in some areas, but there’s different ways of beefing it up,” said Cracchiolo. “Do we need to do something? Probably we do.”

However, Cracchiolo disagrees that the shutdown is being caused by his party. He says Democrats don’t want a wall – or a shutdown – and both parties need to come together to end the shutdown.

“We can re-open the federal government. That’s what I’m hoping for. “We could take $5 billion and spend it other ways without buying a 30-foot wall.”

On Tuesday, the president address comments that his wall is “immoral.” Local Republican leaders, like the president, disagree with this.

“I disagree. ‘Moral’ is having a country that is your country, you have control of who comes in and out,” said Roth.

In his address, the president called the border issues a crisis of the heart and in the past has referred to the situation as an emergency.

“I really don’t feel like there’s much proof of an emergency, there’s so many sources that say it’s been a decrease in people coming across the border,” said Cracchiolo.

“Republicans favor some type of barrier at the border,” said Roth. “[President Trump] is steadfast he’s not going to budge, we support him for that.”

The president and congressional leaders will hold more meetings Wednesday to see about ending that shutdown.