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Arizona figures react to Trump’s national address, Democratic rebuttal

President Donald Trump speaks from the Oval Office of the White House as he gives a prime-time address about border security Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2018, in Washington. (Carlos Barria/Pool Photo via AP)

PHOENIX — After President Donald Trump made a televised plea for border wall funding Tuesday night, Arizona political figures weighed in on his statements.

U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona told KTAR News 92.3 FM that he thought Trump “hit a home run.”

“I thought he carefully laid out a compelling case for building a border wall. I thought he hit specific facts with regard to drug smuggling, human smuggling and trafficking,” Biggs said.

“He talked about victims of violence … and he talked about humanitarian issues, about women and children who are being victimized coming across the border.”

Biggs also commented on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s rebuttal.

Pelosi, Schumer and other Democrats are not acknowledging the “crisis” at the border, Biggs said, and they are perpetuating the government shutdown by not agreeing to Trump’s border plan.

“It seems to me that they’re locked into their position, and I think they’re going to be for a little while longer,” he said.

Arizona Republican Party Chairman Jonathan Lines echoed Biggs’ praise of the address.

“Once again Democrats are busy playing politics at the expense of our nation’s security,” Lines said in a statement Tuesday.

“Tonight, President Trump concisely outlined why our county (sic) should be committed to securing our borders and enforcing our immigration laws.”

U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona blasted the president’s demand for border wall funding in a statement following the address.

“The only crisis at the border is the one manufactured by Donald Trump, whose draconian policies of family separations, tear-gassing migrant families and attempting to ban migrants from seeking asylum have created an unprecedented crisis at the border,” he said Tuesday.

Grijalva called Trump’s claims of an insecure border “one of the greatest and most dangerous falsehoods promulgated by the Trump administration.”

Former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) told KTAR News 92.3 FM Arizona’s Morning News Wednesday that Trump’s speech and the Democratic response was another example of how the border wall is being used as a political matter.

“This isn’t an argument on the merits — everyone understands what’s actually needed here. It’s strictly a political matter,” Kyl said.

“Both sides have to go back to their base and be able to say, ‘We did very well’ out of this and there are plenty of ways to do that.”

Political analyst Mike O’Neil said the address isn’t likely to change any minds.

“There’s no new information. Trump says ‘build a wall,’ Democrats say no,” O’Neil told The Chad Benson Show on Tuesday.

“The public, frankly, doesn’t want a wall … he hasn’t made a case to anyone but his base.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Taylor Kinnerup and the Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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