Trump invites network representatives to lunch ahead of prime-time address

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump orders US troops back to active duty for coronavirus response Trump asserts power to decide info inspector general for stimulus gives Congress Fighting a virus with the wrong tools MORE invited representatives from broadcast and cable news outlets to lunch on Tuesday ahead of his prime-time address from the Oval Office later in the evening.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Trump had extended the invitation ahead of his address on the border wall and the current partial government shutdown. It was unclear who was invited.

Anchor Bret Baier represented Fox News, according to a tweet he sent. 

The White House did not immediately reply to a request for comment from The Hill.


The invitation to the Roosevelt Room from the president comes after several networks, including ABC, NBC, CBS and MSNBC, deliberated for hours on Monday afternoon about whether to broadcast the the Oval Office address.

All the major broadcast and cable networks networks ended up agreeing to air the speech. 

The networks went ahead despite apprehension made privately by some executives that the president will use the free airtime to overtly push a political agenda around wall funding, which is the sticking point in the ongoing government shutdown.

The White House informed the networks on Monday the speech will last no longer than eight minutes.

Democrats also requested equal time to respond, which was granted. House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDC argues it is shortchanged by coronavirus relief bill Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — US coronavirus cases hit 100,000 | Trump signs T stimulus package | Trump employs defense powers to force GM to make ventilators | New concerns over virus testing Hillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike MORE (Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTexas man arrested for allegedly threatening Democrats over coronavirus bill Pelosi not invited by Trump to White House coronavirus relief bill's signing COVID-19, Bill Barr and the American authoritarian tradition MORE (N.Y.) will provide the Democratic rebuttal.

The lunch invitation is not uncommon before consequential addressed made by the president. In the past, presidents of both parties have invited television anchors to meet at the White House before the State of the Union, for example.