US - US President Donald Trump has made his first TV address to the nation from the Oval Office, escalating a stand-off with Congress that has led to an 18-day partial government shutdown.

Mr Trump insisted on funding for his long-promised border wall with Mexico.

However, he did not declare an emergency that would enable him to bypass the lower house of Congress now controlled by the opposition Democrats. Democratic leaders accused him of holding the American people hostage.

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The Republican president wants $5.7bn (£4.5bn) to build a steel barrier, which would deliver on his signature campaign pledge.

But Democrats - who recently took control of the House of Representatives - are adamantly opposed to giving him the funds.

The ongoing closure of a quarter of federal agencies is the second-longest in history, leaving hundreds of thousands of government workers unpaid.

What did Trump say?

In an eight-minute live address on Tuesday night, he blamed the Democrats for the government shutdown. The situation at the border was, he said, a “humanitarian crisis, a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul”.

Mexico, he said, would pay for the wall through a revamp of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is yet to be ratified. Economists have disputed this. Mexico has never agreed to pay for the wall. The president also said that 90% of heroin sold in the US comes from Mexico, though US government figures make clear all but a small percentage is smuggled through legal points of entry.

Media captionFive questions about Trump’s border wall Mr Trump correctly pointed out that Democrats had in the past supported a physical barrier.

In 2006, senators Chuck Schumer, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden voted in favour of 700 miles (1,120km) of fencing on the nearly 2,000-mile border under the Secure Fence Act.

Mr Trump also cited cases of American citizens “savagely murdered in cold blood” by undocumented immigrants, asking, “How much more American blood will be shed before Congress does its job?”

On Wednesday, he will seek to stiffen the resolve of fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill before hosting congressional leaders for talks at the White House.Then, on Thursday, he will head to the actual border. How did Democrats respond?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer demanded that Mr Trump end the shutdown.

“The fact is the women and children at the border are not a security threat, they are a humanitarian challenge,” said Mrs Pelosi.

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She accused President Trump of “holding the American people hostage” and “manufacturing a crisis”.

Mr Schumer accused Mr Trump of trying to “govern by temper tantrum” and appealing to “fear, not facts”. “The symbol of America should be the Statue of Liberty, not a 30ft wall,” he said.

Democrats argue that maintaining existing border fencing, using high-tech tools to scan vehicles at ports of entry and hiring more personnel would be cheaper and more effective than a wall.

There were two audiences for Donald Trump’s address to the nation on Tuesday night. The first was the American public, who polls indicate are generally uninterested in his border wall proposal, viewing the president as responsible for the government shutdown. The other was Republicans in Congress, who Mr Trump needs to keep in the fold if he is going to get anything out of this extended political confrontation.

It seems unlikely that the president said anything that will move the needle with the public at large. The arguments were familiar - and some have already been debunked. The president has been saying there’s a “crisis” at the border practically since he first started campaigning for the job.

As for congressional Republicans, the speech was a demonstration that Mr Trump is going to use every arrow in his presidential quiver to get his wall.

The president may have bought himself a bit more time for negotiations. It’s just not clear what good it will do him.

What would an emergency declaration achieve?

Analysts say he may yet declare one, accessing military spending to fund his barrier.

But the president would be accused of usurping Congress’s constitutional power of the purse, and the move would be bogged down in a quagmire of legal challenges.