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Letters: The debate over the federal shutdown and the wall

Newsday reader letters for Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019

President Donald Trump speaks to members of the

President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media outside the White House on Sunday. Photo Credit: Bloomberg / Tasos Katopodis

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said President Donald Trump’s wall would be ineffective and a waste of money [“No compromise as shutdown rolls on,” News, Jan. 6].

Yet some people at the border where parts of the wall have been built applaud the construction. Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, the union that represents border patrol agents, says they are effective. Our new speaker seems to be detached from the real world.

Joe Ruszczyk, Kings Park

So President Donald Trump says he encourages landlords to be “nice and easy” with tenants who are federal employees and will not be paid during the shutdown. Do we have any evidence that Trump, as a landlord, was ever lenient to tenants who fell behind in their payments? Just wondering.

Raymond Boivie, Kings Park

The government shutdown should affect only Congress. Members’ compensation should cease until they resolve the problem. It makes no sense to shut down parks and other agencies. Why punish those who have no power?

Aurora Forte, Smithtown

President Donald Trump says the 800,000 federal workers affected by the shutdown, which he said he is proud to own, might not get paid for “months or even years.”

Many of those workers are secretaries, custodians, file clerks, park rangers, law enforcement, customs inspectors, airport security agents and others, who, like most Americans, live paycheck to paycheck. Many will be unable to make rent, mortgage, car, credit card, child care, utility or even grocery payments. Many will be forced to go on welfare and food stamps.

Then there is the spillover affecting nongovernment workers: businesses that sell the government office supplies, gasoline, etc.; businesses that serve federal workers: dry cleaners, restaurants, auto shops, taxis, etc.; businesses that depend on tourists in and outside national parks.

Other than the dire economic hardships that will be imposed on many hundreds of thousands, even millions, of Americans, the Trump shutdown will have no effect whatsoever.

Edmund Fountaine, Oakdale

President Donald Trump says he will keep the shutdown going “as long as it takes” to get the money for his wall because it is necessary for border protection. He overlooks the fact that the Mexican border is a tiny part of area where terrorists, criminals, and drugs can come into this country. Now airport security workers are calling in sick.

He has no empathy for anyone else’s problems and cares about only his private political and business interests. Witness his lack of concern for hundreds of children separated from parents and living in tent cities in Texas and Florida. When will his supporters get tired of his showboating tactics and realize everything he does is a transactional act to boost his own agenda?

Clare Worthing, Wantagh

For Newsday’s editorial board to say border security can be achieved without a wall is out of touch [“Beyond the wall, find real answers,” Editorial, Jan. 2]. If you live on Long Island, you are aware of the opioid epidemic in our communities and the many lives lost. The Drug Enforcement Administration says most illegal drugs from Mexico are smuggled undetected through legal ports of entry. We need the wall so that more border patrol agents can be stationed at those border crossings.

As far as drones, look at the NYPD, which could not use a drone for New Year’s Eve security because of heavy rain. You must believe that people trying to sneak across the border will not come out in the rain!

Tom O’Connor, North Bellmore

Donald Trump needs, among other things, a lesson in civics. He seems to believe Congress is subservient to the president, not an equal branch of government. He doesn’t appear to understand that he can’t achieve his goals by bullying or threatening its members, creating fake crises or holding his breath. The House represents the majority opinion of Americans that a wall along the full Mexico border is physically impossible, environmentally damaging and a waste of money compared with investments in technology and manpower. By ignoring reasonable offers to reopen government and then negotiate a compromise on the single border issue, he exposes himself as self-absorbed and callous, willing to destroy thousands of lives to protect his ego.

You cannot blame the Democrats for reluctance to negotiate on broad terms with a man whose word has been proved over and over again to be worthless. How do you strike a deal with a chronic liar?

The contrast between Trump’s fawning admiration for despots and his refusal to work civilly within our system of government, with our allies or even with his own staff are deeply concerning. Maybe we should ask Vladimir Putin to tell him not to build the wall. That should work.

Cynthia Lovecchio, Glen Cove

The Democratic nominee for president in 2020, whomever it may be, already has the perfect campaign slogan:

“Make America great again!”

William Cadel, Greenlawn

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