White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday announced President Donald Trump’s Tuesday’s plans to travel to the border and give a primetime press conference. After the announcement was made TV networks began to contemplate whether or not they would air the primetime address. Part of the problem is the lack of consistency between presidents.
NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox all aired President George W. Bush’s immigration address in 2006 but declined to air President Barack Obama’s address in 2014, NBC News reported. Some were citing the inconsistencies as reason for networks not to carry the primetime address. Eventually, the networks came around and decided to air the president’s press conference.
Now, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) want cable networks to give Democrats equal airtime to counter whatever President Trump says on Tuesday.
“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 duo said in a joint statement.
Typically, Democrats are given ample time to respond to the president during big speeches, like the State of the Union. Addresses, like the one expected on Tuesday, aren’t usually given rebuttal time. The president is expected to, once again, ask Congress to allocate at least $5 billion to build the border wall. If Congress refuses, Trump is considering declaring a national emergency in order to get the wall built.