Democratic leaders are demanding “equal airtime” for a response to President Trump’s presidential address planned for Tuesday night.
“Now that the television networks have decided to air the President’s address, which if his past statements are any indication will be full of malice and misinformation, Democrats must immediately be given equal airtime,” Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said in a joint statement on Monday night.
All major networks have confirmed they will air Trump’s Oval Office address, after some initial uncertainty over how the organizations would handle the speech announced Monday. CBS said in a statement to The Hill that the White House informed the network it will last no longer than eight minutes.
CBS later said Democrats have officially requested time on the networks to respond to Trump’s speech, but provided no further information on whether the rebuttal would be aired live.
CNN said the network will carry the Democratic response live.
Trump is expected to use the speech to make his pitch on the border wall fight, which is at the center of a weeks-long government shutdown. He is also set to travel to the border on Thursday. The television address comes only weeks before Trump’s end-of-the-month State of the Union speech.
Trump and Congress remain stalemated over funding for the U.S.-Mexico border wall, with the president digging in for his demand for more than $5 billion. Talks over the weekend that included Vice President Pence and congressional leadership staffers made no progress to resolve the funding fight.
Schumer and Pelosi blasted Trump in their statement on Monday night, saying he has the “power to stop hurting the country” by “ending the Trump Shutdown.”
“Democrats and an increasing number of Republicans in Congress have repeatedly urged the President and Leader McConnell to end the Trump Shutdown and re-open the government while Congress debates the President’s expensive and ineffective wall,” they added.