Pelosi disinvites Trump from giving State of the Union address in person citing government shutdown
On Wednesday morning, the standoff over the shutdown reached a new level as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sent a letter to President Donald Trump advising him to either postpone the annual State of the Union address, currently scheduled for January 29, or to submit it in writing.
"The U.S. Secret Service was designated as the lead federal agency responsible for coordinating, planning, exercising, and implementing security for National Security Special Events by Public Law 106-544, December 19, 2000," her letter reads. "However, both the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security have not been funded for 26 days now — with critical departments hamstrung by furloughs."
"Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened," her letter concludes.
Read the entire letter below:
Today, I wrote to @realDonaldTrump recommending that we delay the State of the Union until after government re-open… https://t.co/ot1LQzoHWQ— Nancy Pelosi (@Nancy Pelosi)1547650250.0
Although Pelosi's letter is worded like a request, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) has clarified she is, in fact, disinviting Trump from giving the address in person on that date.
The Constitution provides for the State of the Union address, saying that the President shall "from time to time" brief Congress. In the past, presidents used to give this address in writing, but in the television age it has metastasized into an annual spectacle in which the president speaks to the entire nation from the floor of the House and lays out his agenda. The House and Senate, however, still have to give permission to the president to do this — and there is no reason for Democrats to oblige when Trump will only use the platform to badmouth them and spew racism.
The shutdown, now the longest in history, was precipitated by Trump's arbitrary demand that the funding resolution include money for his border wall, something he hasn't managed to get in two years even with an all-Republican Congress. The Democratic House has passed the exact same resolution to reopen the government that Senate Republicans agreed to on a voice vote in December — but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) keeps blocking the vote.