Trump to deliver state of union address after gov't shutdown ends

Not welcome in the House Donald Trump may have to deliver the State of the Union elsewhere
Credit
Bloomberg

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has told President Donald Trump he may not deliver a State of the Union speech in the chamber of the House of Representatives until the 33-day-old partial government shutdown has ended.

Earlier on Wednesday, Trump sent a letter to Pelosi informing her that despite her previous letter uninviting him from delivering the address, he planned on showing up to the House Chamber to deliver it anyway.

However, hours later, Pelosi responded with a letter of her own, denying Trump a concurrent resolution-a vote that allows a joint session of Congress to convene-to give the speech. "I look forward to seeing you on the evening on January 29th in the Chamber of the House of Representatives", Trump wrote.

"This is her prerogative - I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over".

"This is a sad day and an embarrassing showing of how Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats are blinded by political gamesmanship above all else", said a joint statement from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), and Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R-Wy.).

The Constitution does not mandate that the president deliver an annual address to the legislative branch, a tradition that began under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, but says only that he "shall from time to time" report to Congress on the state of the nation and recommend any measures to take. "She doesn't want the American public to see what's going on". As Politico noted, "the White House was left with either foregoing a live bipartisan audience in favor of an Oval Office address or further departing from protocol and recent history by delivering the speech from a location outside of Washington".

The presidential address is an annual rite in USA politics that often changes and has been delayed before, although the Trump-Pelosi spat may have led to the first postponement initiated by someone other than the president.

The president and his Republicans still have the better part of a week to resolve differences with Democrats and get federal operations going again, allowing his State of the Union speech to proceed.

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And Pelosi herself said Thursday that "we will have some of our proposals for what comes next" in upcoming legislation offerings.

Conducted between January 18 and 22, a Politico/Morning Consult poll found that only seven percent of voters support "dedicating funding to a border wall if it was the only way to end the government shutdown".

For the State of the Union speech, both houses of the legislature cram into the House chamber for an annual update from the president.

"They've become radicalized", Trump told reporters at the White House.

The president tweeted that without his wall, "there can not be safety and security at the Border or for the United States of America", adding the new slogan he coined Wednesday morning: "BUILD THE WALL AND CRIME WILL FALL!" Pelosi previously had asked Trump to consider postponing it because security could not be guaranteed during the shutdown. "I would hope Mr. Trump doesn't test that constitutional principle".

"Thank goodness we have put that matter to rest and we can get on to the subject at hand, open up government so we can negotiate how best to protect our borders".

Trump's back-down came amid reports that Democrats were working on a compromise that would increase the budget allocation for border control up to nearly $5.7 billion, with the condition that it could not be spent on a wall or barrier along the Mexican border. Nevertheless, they were rattled by Pelosi's move on Wednesday and expressed concern it would further sour shutdown negotiations.

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