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

President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Bombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' Lawmakers dismiss Chinese retaliatory threat to US tech 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 PelosiTrump trade deal likely to sow division in Democratic presidential field Trump supporters at Pa. rally 'upset' after Democrats introduce impeachment articles California GOP candidate arrested on stalking charges MORE (Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerKrystal Ball: Is this how Bernie Sanders will break the establishment? TikTok chief cancels Capitol Hill meetings, inflaming tensions Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments 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.