President Trump on Wednesday charged that Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, “canceled” this year’s State of the Union presidential address by disinviting him to the House chamber for a joint session of Congress.
However, there are reports that the constitutionally required report from the president could be delivered elsewhere, at any time, and there was no immediate confirmation from the White House of those plans.
Trump just said there would be “something in the alternative” with more details coming later.
“She just went out and said let’s cancel for the first time in the history of our country,” Trump said of Pelosi.
He pointed out Pelosi asked him to provide the address during the partial government shutdown, and now is citing the government shutdown as a reason for the cancelation of Trump’s speech.
“The State of the Union has been canceled by Nancy Pelos because she doesn’t want to hear the truth,” he charged. She, “doesn’t want the American public to hear what’s going on.”
He called her decision “a great blotch” on “the incredible country we all love.”
Reports said the White House already had a Plan B for the speech in development before Trump even wrote to Pelosi early Wednesday.
That was to promise to honor her invitation to deliver the State of the Union address to Congress and the American people on Jan. 29.
Pelosi launched a tit-for-tat with the president when she suggested in a Jan. 16 letter that he deliver the address in writing because of “security” concerns caused by the partial government shutdown.
The shutdown centers on Democrats’ refusal to support Trump’s request for $5.7 billion border-security funding. Pelosi, at one point, snarked that she would offer the president $1.
Trump’s letter to Pelosi was based on the fact that Pelosi already had dispatched an invitation on Jan. 3 to deliver the address.
“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,” Trump wrote.
Trump didn’t initially respond to Pelosi’s suggestion that he not deliver the address. But a day later he withdrew her use of government aircraft for a congressional junket to Europe, arguing she needed to be in Washington to negotiate a border security agreement and reopen the government.
The Secret Service and DHS corrected Pelosi’s security assessment, explaining they already had their plans in place for the SOTU:
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
Politico called the president’s removal of access to government aircraft a “remarkable counter-punch” to Pelosi’s demand that Trump delay or cancel the State of the Union address.
Trump’s letter Wednesday thanked Pelosi for her invitation to deliver the SOTU, noting it was dated Jan. 3.
“I had already accepted your kind invitation, however, I then received another letter from you dated January 16, 2019, wherein you expressed concerns regarding security. … Even prior to asking, I was contacted by the Department of Homeland Security and the United States Secret Service to explain that there would be absolutely no problem regarding security.
“Therefore, I will be honoring your invitation,” Trump wrote. “I look forward to seeing you on the evening on January 29th in the Chamber of the House of Representatives. It would be so very sad for our country if the State of the Union were not delivered on time, on schedule, and very importantly, on location!”
On Twitter, both sides weighed in.
“Let’s hope she has the guts to keep the door locked,” wrote one critic of the president.
“Still her president,” said a supporter.
Pelosi responded, according to CNBC, later in the day with a statement that she will not allow the House to consider a resolution to allow the president to speak there until after the government reopens. As she has consistently refused to negotiate over that reopening, her response suggests she is demanding that the government reopen only on her terms.
Also in her statement, she changed her reasoning, no longer citing any “security” issue.
Instead, she said back then there was “no thought” that the government shutdown would continue.
But because it has, she insists on “a mutually agreeable date when the government has reopened.”