At 9 p.m. EST on Tuesday, the president is scheduled to deliver a public address from the Oval Office, which will air on major networks and stream across the internet. But Donald Trump won't be the only person given airtime on Tuesday; Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, both Democrats, will respond to Trump's border wall speech, and they promise to address any "malice and misinformation."
“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," Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement released Monday night.
Though the precise contents of Trump's address are not known in advance, the president is expected to address what he has described as the need for a border wall to separate the United States and Mexico. He has asked for over $5 billion to fund the project, which Democrats are refusing to approve.
When Trump announced his national address on Twitter, he described wall-related immigration issues as a "humanitarian and national security crisis on our southern border." Some Democrats have alleged that the president is holding the government hostage.
"The facts are clear: President Trump has the power to stop hurting the country by re-opening the government and ending the Trump Shutdown," Pelosi and Schumer said in their joint statement.
The partial government shutdown is in the middle of its third week, and the longer it continues, the more people it will likely affect. From federal employees to SNAP assistance recipients, as well as people anticipating tax returns, its impact is expected to grow over time.
As the partial shutdown wears on, the president and Democrats have continually sparred over whose fault the closure is. "The Democrats could solve the Shutdown problem in a very short period of time," Trump tweeted earlier this week. "All they have to do is approve REAL Border Security (including a Wall), something which everyone, other than drug dealers, human traffickers and criminals, want very badly! This would be so easy to do!"
For his part, Schumer has repeatedly used the hashtag #TrumpShutdown when tweeting about the shutdown, and has said repeatedly that the government has remained closed because of the president. ("At the White House yesterday, I asked President
@realDonaldTrump to give me one good reason why he should keep large portions of the government shut down while we had a separate debate about the border," Schumer tweeted after a meeting with the president. "He couldn't name one.")
Notably, Pelosi and Schumer won't be the only Democrats to directly respond Trump's Tuesday night address. Sen. Bernie Sanders will also offer a rebuttal, to air on Facebook Live, YouTube, and Twitter following Pelosi and Schumer's response.
While neither side seems eager to fully shoulder the blame for this partial government shutdown, both Democrats and Republicans appear to have a lot to say about it. This is on deck to continue playing out tonight, over the course of all three shutdown-related speeches.