Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer demand equal airtime for Democrats after Donald Trump address

January 8, 2019

Democratic leaders on Monday asked the broadcast networks for equal airtime to counter President Trump’s planned immigration speech Tuesday, saying it’s only fair they get a chance to counter his “malice and misinformation.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer signaled disappointment with the networks’ decisions to grant the president a slot at 9 p.m. Tuesday for a brief address to the nation, and again blamed him for the partial government shutdown that’s now in its third week.

“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 in a joint statement.

The minority party is usually granted time after major addressed such as a state of the union speech, though reactions to short presidential addresses to the nation are usually less structured.

Mr. Trump in his speech is expected to make a plea for Congress to approve $5.7 billion for border wall construction as part of a bill to fund the government for the rest of fiscal year 2019. Democrats have resisted, saying they won’t approve any new money for a program they say is unneeded and which Mrs. Pelosi calls “immoral.”

The president is also considering circumventing Congress and declaring a national emergency which he says would give him powers to task the military with wall construction.

Democrats have vowed court challenges to that plan, and perhaps an effort to stop him through legislation.

Update hourly