WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump is heading to the southern border as Congress works to reopen the government. Trump is now set to give an Oval Office address on Tuesday at 9 p.m. Trump made the announcement on Twitter saying he would “Address the Nation on the Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border.”
Networks previously turned down President Obama’s request for airtime to deliver an immigration speech. Trump’s speech comes after a weekend in which the White House and congressional staff failed to make headway in an attempt to end the shutdown, which has caused several agencies to cease all functions but those “essential” to the public.
President Trump has requested $6 billion in border wall funding, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she will not agree to give him a penny. Before the government shutdown, the Senate had approved a government-funding bill providing over $1 billion for border security, but none was specifically tagged for the wall. The House later passed a version that included Trump’s $6 billion request.
On the Congressional side, both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have asked for air time to deliver a response to Trump’s address. Some commentators have suggested airing it tape delayed, in order to allow someone to fact check and point out the lies.
Mr. Trump’s request that networks broadcast his speech live set off a day of tense deliberations at ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox. By Monday evening, they had all agreed to broadcast the president’s address live at 9 p.m. Eastern. Cable networks will also televise his eight-minute speech.
ABC veteran anchor Ted Koppel said that Pres. Trump should be given airtime since this is the first time he has requested time for an Oval Office speech and that he deserves the benefit of the doubt. Koppel told the New York Times “When the president of the United States asks for airtime, you’ve got to do it,” “If what he has to say is clearly just in his self-interest and does not address the greater national interest, then the next time the White House comes around, I might not be inclined to offer it.”
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