Published: Wed, January 09, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Trump to address Americans amid fears of national emergency

Trump to address Americans amid fears of national emergency

"Now that the television networks have made a decision 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", Democrat leaders Senator Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement last night, even as various liberal quarters demanded that Trump's speech should be subjected to a delayed telecast to enable instant fact-checking given his propensity for lies and dissembling.

The major television networks and some cable television news stations will air President Donald Trump's speech to the nation live on January 8. Networks to broadcast the presidential address include CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS and Fox broadcast network, CNN Business reported.

The confirmation came after some networks were reportedly considering not airing the speech live. It invited representatives from cable news outlets to a White House lunch with Trump ahead of the address, a gesture that is typically reserved for the lead-up to State of the Union speeches.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a tweet that Mr Trump would use his visit to the border on Thursday to "meet with those on the front lines of the national security and humanitarian crisis". Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants streamed across the border in 2018, a situation the president and some experts have deemed a crisis.

Migrants break through the USA border fence just beyond the east pedestrian entrance of the San Ysidro crossing in Tijuana, Mexico, on November 25, 2018.

Since the stalemate over funding is ongoing, Trump had no other choice but to take his case directly to American people in a speech planned for later in the day, the vice president said, as suspense continues to build over the possible big announcement.

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During the campaigning he pledged Mexico would pay for the wall, but since taking office he has been unable to achieve this, and is now attempting to use United States taxpayer funds to the tune of US$5.7 billion (NZ$8.5b).

Floodlights from the United States illuminate multiple border walls on January 7, 2019, as seen from Tijuana, Mexico.

Critics pointed out that the networks aired President George W. Bush's prime-time address on immigration in 2006, but did not air one by President Barack Obama in 2014. He did not declare an emergency and instead talked about building a steel barrier rather than a wall. Democrats, meanwhile, have demanded equal time, so networks will also air a rebuttal by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Recent reports and studies show that illegal border crossings have actually dropped and a majority of Americans are against the wall, but such studies go against the Trump narrative of a grave crisis at the Southern border that required a massive wall across 2000 miles.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also accused Mr Trump of trying to "govern by temper tantrum" and of manufacturing a crisis.

"This barrier is absolutely critical to border security".

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