Senior Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have issued a remarkable statement claiming that the Oval Office statement President Donald Trump is scheduled to give at 9 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday will be “full of malice and misinformation” and demanded that Democrats be given equal airtime to respond to it.
Trump’s national address will be broadcast on ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox Broadcasting, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, MSNBC, and NBC. He is expected to address the ongoing government shutdown which he has inflicted over Congress’ refusal to sanction funding for the construction of his $5.6 billion border wall.
He is expected to argue in the speech that there is a “crisis” at the border between the United States and Mexico that requires a wall to get under control.
But in a joint statement, released late last night, the new House Speaker Pelosi and senior Democratic Senator Schumer have demanded a right to reply, according to the Daily Mail.
“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,” the statement read.
The address will be the first such Oval Office speech given by President Trump during his time in office. It will be followed on Thursday by a presidential visit to the southern border which he intends to use to highlighted the need for a wall to be built.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Twitter that he will use the visit to “meet with those on the front lines of the national security and humanitarian crisis.”
President @realDonaldTrump will travel to the Southern border on Thursday to meet with those on the frontlines of the national security and humanitarian crisis. More details will be announced soon.
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) January 7, 2019
However, while President Trump continues to dig his heels in over the shutdown, House Democrats with the support of some Republicans, are already planning how to reopen the government without giving in to the president’s demands.
The shutdown is currently the second longest on record and has gone on for 17 days already. If it continues beyond this weekend, it will be the longest on record, yet President Trump has said he is happy for it to continue for months or even years if necessary.
But members of both houses are growing concerned about the impact of the shutdown. Pelosi said already said that the House will begin passing individual bills this week to reopen some federal agencies, starting with the Treasury Department in order to ensure Americans receive their tax refunds.
In response to that claim, the White House told reporters Monday that tax refunds would be paid despite the shutdown.