As the government shutdown enters its 18th day over a manufactured crisis at the border, President Donald Trump will address the nation during primetime television on Tuesday evening.
The address will air at 9 pm Eastern time and be broadcast on multiple major networks, including NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, and Fox’s broadcast networks; and cable outlets such as CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. C-SPAN will also carry the speech.
The networks’ decision to carry the address has caused some consternation, as many of those same outlets refused to air President Barack Obama’s 2014 speech on a series of executive actions on immigration in November of that year after talks over a bipartisan immigration reform bill broke down. Part of the explanation then was that it was “sweeps” month (though Trump’s speech will preempt new episodes of Black-ish, FBI, and Ellen’s Game of Games), but it was also because the networks found the topic of Obama’s speech to be too partisan.
In a joint statement released on Monday, Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer criticized the networks’ decision to air Trump’s speech and demanded that they be given equal airtime to respond.
“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,” they said.
NBC has agreed to broadcast Pelosi and Schumer’s rebuttal.