President Trump late Wednesday said he will deliver his State of the Union message after the government shutdown ends, bringing to a close the tit-for-tat with Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
An alternative site had been considered, but AP reported Trump wants to deliver the speech in the House because “no venue … can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber.”
Pelosi sent a letter to Trump Jan. 3 inviting him to give the address. But she rescinded the invitation in a Jan. 16 letter, citing security concerns. She advised Trump to consider delivering the address in writing.
The next day, Trump withdrew permission for Pelosi and her congressional delegation to use government aircraft for a trip to Europe, arguing the speaker needed to be in Washington to negotiate an end to shutdown.
The Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security refuted Pelosi’s security concerns, stating plans were in place and staffed.
Early Wednesday, Trump affirmed his acceptance of her invitation, pointing to her Jan. 3 letter.
But Pelosi responded with a declaration that she would not allow the House to vote on the procedural resolution permitting the speech to a joint session of Congress until the shutdown ends.
Trump decided later Wednesday to postpone the address.
“As the Shutdown was going on, Nancy Pelosi asked me to give the State of the Union Address. I agreed,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “She then changed her mind because of the Shutdown, suggesting a later date. This is her prerogative – I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over.”
The shutdown centers on Democrats refusal to approve Trump’s requested $5.7 billion for border security, including barriers. Pelosi, who has called a wall “immoral,” has refused to negotiate, even though she has supported border barriers in the past.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., accused Pelosi of allowing her dislike of the president to influence her decisions.
Kayleigh McEnany, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, said, “Shame on Nancy Pelosi.”
Trump said Wednesday: “She just went out and said let’s cancel for the first time in the history of our country.”
He pointed out the shutdown already was in progress when Pelosi’s invitation arrived.
“The State of the Union has been canceled by Nancy Pelosi because she doesn’t want to hear the truth,” he charged Wednesday.
She “doesn’t want the American public to hear what’s going on,” the president said.
He called her decision “a great blotch” on “the incredible country we all love.”
In his letter Wednesday, Trump wrote: “I will be honoring your invitation, and fulfilling my constitutional duty, to deliver important information to the people and Congress of the United States of America regarding the State of our Union.”
President Trump’s letter to Speaker Pelosi on the State of the Union pic.twitter.com/B4QN9hDJnv
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) January 23, 2019
WND reported when Trump expanded his ban on congressional travel.
The president’s announcement about congressional travel:
Acting OMB Director @RussVought45 sends letter to all Cabinet members that NO “government owned, rented, leased, or chartered aircraft” can transport any Congressional delegation, “without the express written approval of the White House Chief of Staff” during the gov’t shutdown pic.twitter.com/Nr8kc3Lu30
— Scott Wong (@scottwongDC) January 18, 2019