House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is refusing to let President Donald Trump use her chamber to deliver his State of the Union address on Jan. 29 despite his assurances that he would have ample security for the event.
The letter, dated Jan. 23, said that as long as the government remained closed, Democrats would not vote on a resolution authorizing Trump’s address later this month.
“I am writing to inform you that the House of Representatives will not consider a concurrent resolution authorizing the President’s State of the Union address in the House Chamber until government has opened,” she said.
— Rebecca Kaplan (@RebeccaRKaplan) January 23, 2019
At the beginning of the year, Pelosi invited Trump to give the State of the Union, but she later reneged, citing the shutdown’s effect on the Secret Service.
“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,” she said in a letter on Jan. 16.
“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 for this address,” Pelosi added.
She also suggested that Trump could deliver his address from the Oval Office. As IJR previously reported, congressional Republicans knocked Pelosi’s decision to interfere with the State of the Union.
“I just think it’s petty. It’s petty,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said last week.
Trump responded early on Wednesday, saying that both the Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security confirmed there would be no problem with providing security for the event.
President Trump’s letter to Speaker Pelosi on the State of the Union pic.twitter.com/B4QN9hDJnv
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) January 23, 2019
“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!” he wrote.
Pelosi’s response didn’t mention the Secret Service’s and DHS’ assurances but rather that she initially invited Trump under the assumption that the government wouldn’t continue to be shut down.
“Again, I look forward to welcoming you to the House on a mutually agreeable date for this address when government has been opened,” her letter concluded.
When asked about her letter, Trump said he wasn’t surprised but that it was “a shame” how the Democrats became “radicalized.”
Watch the video below:
“I’m not surprised. It’s really a shame what’s happening with the Democrats,” US President Trump says in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying there will be no State of the Union until the government reopens https://t.co/j9PIQPEBeB pic.twitter.com/CtrI53e4ix
— CNN International (@cnni) January 23, 2019
The shutdown, which has lasted longer than 30 days and is the longest in U.S. history, furloughed some federal employees and created a situation in which others worked without pay. The White House and congressional Democrats have been unable to reach a compromise on Trump’s coveted funding for a southern border wall.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) proposed giving Trump $5.7 billion for border security. Both Pelosi and Trump have signaled they won’t budge on the issue.
The president and the speaker have both described the wall in moral terms — a framing that House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) seemed to reject.
“My own view is that this is not an issue of morality,” he said. “A wall is immoral if it tries to imprison people who shouldn’t be imprisoned. A wall is — that protects people is not immoral.”
Trump has relentlessly pushed for the wall on Twitter, and on Wednesday, he offered up what appeared to be a rallying cry for his cause.
BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL! This is the new theme, for two years until the Wall is finished (under construction now), of the Republican Party. Use it and pray!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 23, 2019
“BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL!” he tweeted. “This is the new theme, for two years until the Wall is finished (under construction now), of the Republican Party.”