As the 18th day of the government shutdown trudges on, President Donald Trump will address the nation live on TV. The speech will be aired on major networks, but so will the Democratic response to the prime-time Oval Office address that will hone in on immigration.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer will deliver a response to President Trump's address tonight from the Capitol. Their remarks will be aired after the conclusion of Trump's 9 p.m. ET speech.
The four major broadcast networks — ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC — will share the response with viewers, reported Variety. Cable, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, and Fox Business also will carry it, reported NBC News.
"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," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement.
The president's address will be interesting to hear because remedying the ongoing shutdown in the president's eyes will require both sides of the government to fork over more than $5 billion to build a wall along the U.S. southern border. Democrats are holding tight and refuse to budge, saying they will not provide the president with any additional wall funding.U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said in an interview with NBC News that the president would use his speech to "explain to the American people that we have a humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border." He clarified that the president has yet to determine whether or not he would declare a national emergency in order to build portions of the border wall that he wants so badly.
"It is a real crisis. Tonight he will tell the American people why Congress should act," Pence said.
However, legal experts told NBC News that declaring a national emergency to build the wall would face legal challenges. Attorneys from the White House, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Pentagon have been meeting to discuss whether or not it's a viable option.
"We're in uncharted territory," said University of Texas School of Law Professor Stephen Vladeck
"I can do it if I want," Trump told reporters at the White House Friday.
"We can call a national emergency because of the security of our country. We can do it. I haven't done it, I may do it. This should have been done by all of the presidents that preceded me. And they all know it. Some of them have told me that we should have done it."U.S. Representative Steny H. Hoyer, the majority leader, told the New York Times that he does not believe Trump has the authority to declare a national emergency to deal with border security.
"There is no crisis, there is no invasion, there is no clear and present danger, as the president would try to convey to the American people to scare them and to justify actions otherwise not justified," Hoyer said.
"We are going to, daily, urge and take efforts to open up the government. Whatever problems confront us, they are exacerbated — not relieved — by shutting down government."