Pelosi tells Trump no State of Union speech until shutdown ends

April FrancisJan 27, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday attempted to move ahead with planning for a State of the Union speech to the U.S. Congress on January 29 despite pressure from Democrats to delay it due to the partial government shutdown.

Trump was already smarting, after being forced into shelving his annual State of the Union address by top Democrat Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives, until the government is fully operational.

Trump sent a letter Wednesday telling Pelosi he meant to deliver his speech in the chamber as planned, but the speaker responded by declining to hold the necessary vote to invite the president to the chamber.

Last week, Pelosi effectively disinvited Trump from giving his speech on January 29, and the president responded by canceling her foreign travel and committing to giving his address from the Capitol.

She told him the House "will not consider a concurrent resolution authorising the President's State of the Union address in the House Chamber until government has opened".

The US President said it would be "so very sad" not to deliver the speech in the House of Representatives - which sets the agenda for the year - as the record government shutdown entered day 33.

Trump said he was planning a "really important speech" and called Pelosi's move a 'great blotch on the country that we all love'.

Moments after her letter became public, Trump told reporters he wasn't surprised by Pelosi's action. "This will go on for awhile".

Some officials believe a rally would just be seen as another campaign speech, which they acknowledge people have started to tune out.

Pelosi initially wrote Trump last week to inform him the speech should be delayed, or delivered in writing, since the law enforcement agencies tasked with protecting the Capitol during the event are affected by the shutdown.

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Democrats promptly rejected Trump's plan as insufficient, saying they would not trade a temporary restoration of the immigrants' protections in return for a permanent border wall that they view as ineffective.

"This is her prerogative - I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over. Should we have our families come in?"

The Republican-controlled Senate is due to hold two votes on Thursday on competing proposals to end the shutdown, but neither option is expected to reach the 60-vote threshold.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the GOP plan's immigration proposals were "even more radical" than their past positions.

Pelosi stated firmly, "We're not doing a wall" and called the plan immoral.

"I look forward to welcoming you to the House on a mutually agreeable date when government has been opened".

As the fight over the border wall and government funding raged, a sideshow over Trump's upcoming State of the Union speech also boiled over.

"Hemingway knocked Pelosi for offering a not-so-serious "$1" for Trump's border wall and playing a role in breaking institutional norms.

Pelosi responded by insisting she would not pass a resolution authorising him to address Congress until the government had reopened.

Democrats have argued that with so many federal employees furloughed - temporarily laid off - or working without pay, the high-profile State of the Union address, which involves both chambers of Congress and the president, would not be logistically feasible. Declaring there are "no security concerns", Trump says he will fulfill his "Constitutional duty".

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