President Trump addressed the nation eight days ago and laid out a sobering, compelling case for a wall on the southern border. That, followed by the almost comical response from the Democrat leadership, and Trump was in the red zone.

But somewhere along the one-yard line, he fumbled. Can Trump recover and take it into the end zone? We shall see.

Trump's Oval Office speech was focused. It hit on all of the important talking points and provided statistics to back them up.

The speech addressed the growing opioid crisis that continues to sting every corner of this nation, and how 90 percent of the drugs are pouring unfettered over the southern border. Opioids claim at least 300 lives per week in this country and have now replaced car crashes as the leading cause of death among young people.

Trump also reported on the number of criminal illegals that are apprehended at the border and estimates of those who make it across. Those numbers include violent and dangerous terrorists and street gang members. He also addressed the health and humanitarian crisis that the many thousands of people who come to the border face each year. It is staggering. He spoke about the impact illegal immigration has on our economy annually.

Trump's speech almost guaranteed that the Democrats would fold and the wall would be built. And then the unthinkable happened: Trump went off message and began focusing more on the government shutdown than the reason why the shutdown and the hardship it creates is worth it. The Democrats were able to take control of the debate and shift the focus away from the need for a border wall to the shutdown and shifted public opinion in their favor in the process.

Recent poll numbers indicate Trump has lost momentum on the wall and more Americans blame him for the government shutdown.

The Republicans have always and will always catch hell for government shutdowns. They cannot and will not win that debate. They can and should win the debate over the need for a border wall by getting back on message and by pointing out how hypocritical the Democrats are on this issue after they have been strong advocates for an even more expensive border wall not that long ago.

If Trump does not get back on message soon he will lose this battle. If he does, he is toast.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.