As the partial government shutdown heads into its third week, President Trump is slated to give a prime time address about border security on Jan. 8. With his shifting messages in the weeks since the government closed and his lengthy rants about the need for border security, you might be wondering: How long will Trump's prime time address be? Well, let's just say you should get your popcorn ready early, because there might not be time to pop it during the address.
In a televised meeting from the Oval Office on Tuesday night, Trump will make his full case for border security to the American public. While his full talking points are unclear, in a dramatic Jan. 7 tweet from the president announcing the address, Trump called the situation at the U.S. southern border a "Humanitarian and National Security crisis," which doesn't seem like a short and sweet kind of topic. But CBS, which will air the address, shared a statement from the White House with The Hill that said the president's address will last no longer than eight minutes. Are you surprised? Because I totally am.
But don't switch off your television once he's finished, otherwise you'll miss the responses of Democratic leaders. After Trump announced the plans for his speech, Democrat leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, followed up with demands for equal airtime to rebut his comments. In a Jan. 7 statement shared with NBC News, the pair said:
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.
Democrats aren't the only ones raising questions of what kind of fact-checking viewers will see of the president's remarks. Critics are already wondering how, or if, the networks running the address will fact-check a president who, per The Washington Post, made an average of 15 false claims a day. Elite Daily reached out to the White House for comment regarding the president's truthfulness and the address, but did not immediately hear back.
According to NBC News, major broadcast networks — including Fox, ABC, CBS, and NBC — obliged Democrats' request of time for a response. Cable networks MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News are also set to air the response. Here's how to tune in to watch the address, because you won't want to miss it.
This all comes as the shutdown stretches into its 18th consecutive day. The government closure stems from a stalemate over funding for border security. Trump has demanded $5 billion for a border wall with Mexico, while Democrats have offered just over $1 billion — and both sides have repeatedly stated that they aren't budging.
To force Democrats' hand, Trump has threatened to keep the government shutdown for as long as it takes to get his requested funds, even for "years." He also said on Jan. 4 that he was considering declaring a national emergency — a move that would circumvent Congress and allow Trump to pull funds from the Department of Defense and other sources to pay for his wall. Elite Daily reached out to the White House for further comment at the time, but did not hear back. That same day, ABC News reported that conversations about declaring a national emergency had occurred on a "working level" and that officials were still working out the kinks before making any official announcement on the subject.
Could tonight be the night that announcement is made, or has Trump decided that he's willing to work out an agreement with Democrats? We'll see. Anything, after all, is possible in 2019.