Pelosi, Schumer demand 'equal airtime' from networks when Trump delivers primetime address

Posted at 9:27 PM, Jan 07, 2019

With all four major commercial broadcast networks and three cable news channels deciding to air President Donald Trump's primetime address from the White House on Tuesday, Democratic leaders said the party deserves "equal airtime" in response from the networks.

Trump announced on Monday that he would deliver the statement at 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday on why the federal government needs to build a wall along America's southern border. Trump has demanded more than $5 billion in funding from Congress before agreeing to end a government shutdown that started before Christmas. Democrats have remained steadfast in opposition of funding a wall, but have said it would consider for other border security projects.

While networks air opposition responses for events such as the State of the Union, generally primetime statements from the White House go without an official response. Even when the opposition party is given a rebuttal following an address such as the State of the Union, the response lasts only a fraction as long as the President's address.

But both Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., believe that Democrats should be granted a longer response.

"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," Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement.

It is unclear exactly how long Trump's address will last on Tuesday. It is also unclear whether network executives will oblige and give Democrats a chance to deliver an official response.