Shortly after all major television networks confirmed they will air President Trump’s Tuesday night address regarding the border wall, Democratic Party leaders demanded the networks provide “equal airtime” to respond.
“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 Monday night.
Trump tweeted on Monday that he would address the nation live at 9 p.m. ET regarding “the Nation on the Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border.” Despite some initial speculation that some networks might choose not to air Trump’s remarks, by 5 p.m. PT, ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox Broadcasting, Fox News, Fox Business, MSNBC and NBC all confirmed they would.
In contrast, five years ago, ABC, NBC, Fox and CBS declined to air then-president Obama’s prime time address on immigration reform.
The Washington Post reported at the time that it was in part because networks didn’t want to interrupt prime time programming during November sweeps. But according to Politico, “There was agreement among the broadcast networks that this was overtly political. The White House has tried to make a comparison to a time that all the networks carried President Bush in prime time, also related to immigration . But that was a bipartisan announcement, and this is an overtly political move by the White House.”
NBC, ABC, FOX and CBS did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap.