South Dakota party leaders, professor react to Trump's address

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Sioux Falls, S.D. - President Trump addressed the nation from the oval office Tuesday night saying there is a security crisis at the southern border. This as Democrats and Republicans remain at odds over funding for a border wall with the government shutdown nearing day 18.

Leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties in South Dakota, in addition to a USD professor, tell KSFY there wasn't a lot that surprised them.

They recognize it's an issue that needs to be solved, but admit Tuesday’s address likely won't sway Americans on either side of the border wall.

“This is a humanitarian crisis, a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul,” President Trump said.

“On the one hand, he started off by portraying this as a humanitarian crisis, but he also portrayed it as a question of national security,” USD Department of Political Science chair Dr. David Earnest said. “So there was a mixed message of care and compassion for victims, but at the same time fear of violent crimes.”

Dr. David Earnest said the President seemed to make some obvious efforts at compromise.

“One was, he noted he’s invited the leaders to come to the White House tomorrow for another meeting,” Earnest said. “The other interesting concession is he’s clearly acknowledging he’s not going to get a wall that’s built of concrete. He’s said he would be amenable to building a wall made of steel."

It’s something President Trump said he's decided to do because of Democrats.

“We do not need a firm border wall,” South Dakota Democratic Party executive director Sam Parkinson said. “We do not need a concrete wall or steal barriers. What we need right away is an open government. Let’s fund the government right away and then we will come right back to the table and continue to talk border security.”

“It seems that President Trump is offering a deal,” South Dakota Republican Party finance director Dave Roetman said. “He’s a transactional president and if you want to have a deal with him you’re going to have to give a little bit. So if the government needs to be reopened there’s going to have to be a wall.”

The president has previously said he would declare a national emergency if the funds he wants for the border wall aren't approved. Dr. Earnest said that may not be the case anymore.

“It sounds like he’s not going that direction,” Earnest said. “He is laying the groundwork for that, but it sounds like after the internal debate in the administration, most of his advisors and the President probably feel that’s not an advisable way forward.”

Dr. Earnest also added after Tuesday night he believes the shutdown will continue, but a compromise will come in the next few days. He does believe that neither side will fully get what they want though.