High Expectations, Bitter Politics Ahead Of Trump's First Oval Office Address

President Donald Trump will take his case directly to the American public Tuesday night and deliver a prime-time address on what the White House and others have identified as a "humanitarian and security crisis" at the southern border.

The White House formally requested that the major television networks interrupt their regularly scheduled programming to air his speech from the Oval Office. The big four, ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, spent time deliberating and ultimately agreed to broadcast the address. The decision set off a bitter partisan battle over network coverage of the president and has fueled already high expectations forTrump's first formal address from the Oval Office.

Ahead of the 9 p.m. ET speech, critics challenged Trump's underlying claim of an actual crisis at the southern border, undermining the stated purpose of the address. Some argued the president will use his airtime to set the stage for, or actually declare, a national emergency and assert a host of emergency powers.

If Trump is going to move the needle of public opinion in his favor, he will have to expand the debate beyond the confines of a "partisan food fight" and inform a larger conversation about border security, explained Ford O'Connell, a Republican strategist and political commentator.

"This is a case where, despite what people think of Donald Trump, he does have the facts on his side," O'Connell said, noting a number of news reports acknowledging a crisis on the southern border. "But he is going to have to make the case to the people who are not necessarily as partisan as the hard Rs and hard Ds. I think that is going to be the key here."

Read more from Leandra Bernstein at WJLA

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