As a partial U.S. government shutdown stretches into its third week, and the White House continues to demand that any bill to reopen federal offices must include funding for a multi-billion-dollar wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, the major U.S. networks have granted President Donald Trump’s request for a primetime audience.
After the networks agreed to air Trump’s address, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer released a joint statement demanding the chance to respond to the president, whose speech they claimed “will be full of malice and misinformation.” The networks said on Tuesday morning that they will carry the Democrats’ response.
The president’s prime-time address has been controversial because of Trump’s propensity for lying. (According to the Toronto Star, the U.S. president had made almost 4,000 false claims as of Dec. 5 for an average of 5.8 per day.) Recently, the White House has been trying to justify funding a wall on the notion that there is a new crisis at the southern border, when in fact the number of people trying to cross the border has been in decline for nearly two decades.
The Trump administration has also been citing a figure that 4,000 suspected terrorists were prevented from entering the country in 2017. But according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, most were trying to enter by air. (For a complete fact-checking of Trump’s border claims, see here.)
Watch Trump’s speech here at 9 p.m. ET.