Genesee County political leaders react to President Trump's address

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FLINT (WJRT) (01/08/2019) - The newly elected chairmen of the Genesee County Democratic and Republican parties reacted to President Donald Trump's national address Tuesday evening shortly after he concluded his remarks.

"There is a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border," President Trump said during his opening remarks.

The new chairman of the Genesee County Democratic Party questioned the motives behind that statement.

"Is our security better off with unpaid TSA agents?" asked Keith Flynn. "Is it better off with a federal government that's completely shut down."

"I don't know exactly what it is that Donald Trump is prioritizing," he added. "It certainly isn't security."

Four minutes into his address, Trump talked about his $5.7 billion request for what he described as a "physical barrier."

"This barrier is absolutely critical to border security," said Trump. "It's also what our professionals at the border want and need."

Koen Driesen, the new chairman of the Genesee County Republican Party, agrees on the need for a border wall.

"I personally know people who voted for Trump that normally vote Democrat that voted because of that issue and those people are still there," Driesen said. "There's a huge part of America that wants to have a wall."

Political science professor Paul Rozycki said he was surprised how little was new in Trump's speech.

"I don't think it's going to change any minds. The Republican base is going to nod and like it, the Democrats aren't going to be moved in any direction one way or the other," he said.

Rozycki didn't hear any new proposals from Trump that might move him and Congress closer to a deal that would end the partial government shutdown soon.

"I mean, if there's going to be a deal, if you're going to be a deal maker, where's the proposal to bring across a few Democrats or to settle this thing?" he said. "I didn't hear it tonight."

The only thing all three agreed on is that at 9 minutes and 29 seconds, Trump did a good job of not going too far over his allotted 8 minutes. They also agreed that he presented himself in a presidential manner.

A study conducted by SSRS for CNN in December showed 57 percent of respondents opposed building a wall while 38 percent favored constructing one.

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