During Chris Cuomo’s panel discussion about the speech on CNN, former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) praised Trump for a win “on several fronts,” including the taking of a less hawkish approach to the topic of immigration.
“The president did something he doesn’t do very often, and I thought he did it, for him, very well, which is to show a softer side, to make a more compassionate argument and to tone down the rhetoric,” Santorum said.
He added that what was needed going forward was “the presidential Donald Trump who actually thought through this speech.”
Navarro, a Republican strategist and another one of the network’s commentators, suggested it didn’t really matter whether Trump planned out his words.
“When you have a president who lies consistently and pathologically and then you see him scripted once every blue moon, you don’t buy it,” she said. “You don’t believe him. You know he is scripted.”
Further dismissing Trump’s remarks, Navarro argued that “the majority of the American people have now come to understand that this is a lying president.”
“He lied today,” she said. “It’s not inaccuracies, it’s not facts and alternative facts. It is downright lies to try to make a political point.”
Trump’s speech quickly became the subject of controversy for its series of misleading statements and falsehoods, the first of which occurred in his opening line. According to Washington Post journalist Salvador Rizzo, Trump’s assertion of a “security crisis at the southern border” didn’t hold water given that the number of attempted illegal border crossings had hit an almost 20-year low.
The primetime speech was part of the president’s push for more than $5 billion in border wall funding amid a partial government shutdown that has now entered its third week.