Trump tells Pelosi he will give State of Union speech as planned

Arturo Kim
January 27, 2019

US President Donald Trump is considering an alternative to the State of the Union address, after Democrats refused to let him deliver the speech in Congress while the government remains partially shut down.

In an escalation of rhetoric that essentially dared Pelosi to disinvite him, Trump told her in a letter, which the White House released, that he was "looking forward" to giving the speech, an annual event in American politics.

The State of the Union is a constitutionally required duty of the President, though a public speech has only been the traditional practice since Woodrow Wilson in 1913.

Both the Democratic-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate must pass a joint resolution to allow Trump to deliver the speech to a joint session of Congress.

Pelosi launched a tit-for-tat with the president when she suggested in a January 16 letter that he deliver the address in writing because of "security" concerns caused by the partial government shutdown.

On Sunday, the administration sent an email to the House sergeant-at-arms seeking to reschedule a security walk-through of the Capitol that Pelosi indefinitely postponed last week, according to a senior White House official said.

Pelosi said when she extended the invitation on January 3 for Trump to deliver the speech, "there was no thought that the government would still be shut down" on January 29.

The ongoing government shutdown has become the longest in United States history, as the deadlock continues over Trump's request for funding to build a wall along the Mexican border. More specifically, she doesn't want the voters to hear the truth.

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She added, "Again, I look forward to welcoming you to the House on a mutually agreeable date for this address when government has been opened". But the fallout from this unprecedented State of the Union drama, if it reaches a climax on Tuesday, is unpredictable, to say the least. Democrats have become "radicalized", he said.

In a series of tweets shortly before midnight Thursday, the president noted that an alternative venue for his State of the Union would not do and postponing the event was the best option. A Republican one would give Trump money for the wall while one from Democrats would re-open government through February 8, with no wall money, giving bargainers time to talk about it.

"Using the figure the president put on the table, if his $5.7 billion is about border security then we see ourselves fulfilling that request, only doing it with what I like to call using a smart wall", Clyburn told reporters. She also suggested that he deliver the speech to Congress in written form.

But Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator who often has the president's year, said he discussed with Trump the new proposal gaining traction: a continuing resolution that funds government for three weeks.

Some 800,000 federal employees were going unpaid since December 22 due to the shutdown.

Pelosi responded to Trump's tweet by urging him to support legislation to reopen the government.

"Look, I think physical barriers are part of the solution", congressman Steny Hoyer, the number two House Democrat, told Fox News. One of Pelosi's Democratic allies issued a warning to Trump on the issue: "No one in America should underestimate Nancy D'Alesandro Pelosi", said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of NY.

The letter was the latest in a round of squabbling over the yearly speech, which is a constitutional requirement that has been caught up in the back-and-forth over border security and reopening shuttered government agencies.

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