Passions are ablaze in the US capital where the government is partially shut down over the president's demand for a border wall which critics say is unnecessary. Each side took their case to the people on Tuesday.
President Donald Trump made a televised plea for border wall funding Tuesday night, seeking an edge in the shutdown battle with congressional Democrats as he declared there is "a humanitarian crisis, a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul."
Addressing the nation from the Oval Office for the first time, Trump argued for funding on security and humanitarian grounds as he sought to put pressure on newly empowered Democrats amid an extended partial government shutdown.
Trump called on Democrats to return to the White House to meet with him, saying it was "immoral" for "politicians to do nothing."
Trump, who has long railed against illegal immigration at the border, has recently seized on humanitarian concerns to argue there is a broader crisis that can only be solved with a wall along the US-Mexico border. But critics say the security risks are overblown and his administration is at least partly to blame for the humanitarian situation.
Newly elected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, was also one of the critics, who has accused Trump of 'manufacturing a crisis' at border, calling on him to 're-open the government', following the Trump speech over the wall.
Pelosi and Democrat Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responded to Trump's pleas.
Schumer said Trump "just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear and divert attention from the turmoil in his administration."
Speaking in solemn tones from behind the Resolute Desk, Trump painted a dire picture of killings and drug deaths he argues come from unchecked illegal immigration.
Trump ticked off a string of statistics and claims to make his case that there is a crisis at the border, but a number of his statements were misleading, such as saying the new trade deal with Mexico would pay for the wall, or suggesting through gruesome examples that immigrants are more likely to commit crime.
He spoke of Americans who have been "savagely murdered in cold blood" by immigrants who crossed illegally into the United States.
"How much more American blood must we shed before Congress does its job?" he pleaded.
TRT World's Jon Brain reports from Washington.
"No president should pound the table and demand he gets his way or else the government shuts down, hurting millions of Americans who are treated as leverage," Schumer said.
"The symbol of America should be the Statue of Liberty, not a 30 foot wall," he concluded.
Trump has been discussing the idea of declaring a national emergency to allow him to circumvent Congress and move forward with the wall. But he made no mention of such a declaration Tuesday night.
Democrats have vowed to block funding for a wall, which they say would be immoral and ineffective, and have called on Trump to reopen shuttered portions of the government while border negotiations continue.
Rank-and-file lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle weighed in quickly on social media, with Republicans praising Trump for outlining the facts of a national security crisis on the border and Democrats attacking him for misleading and dividing Americans.
"Throughout history, presidents have used an Oval Office address to bring the country together," tweeted Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
"Tonight, Trump used it to stoke fear and division."