Trump to Pelosi: Ready or not, State of the Union is happening ‘on time & on location’
US President Donald Trump has informed Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi that he will show up on January 29 to deliver the State of the Union. She replied that it cannot happen until the government shutdown ends.
In a letter sent to Pelosi (D-California) on Day 33 of the shutdown, Trump said that he had already accepted her “kind invitation” when he got another letter about security concerns, on January 16. However, both the Secret Service and Homeland Security assured him “there would be absolutely no problem regarding security” and even said so publicly.
“Therefore, I will be honoring your invitation, and fulfilling my Constitutional duty, to deliver important information to the people and Congress the United States of America regarding the State of our Union,” the president wrote on Wednesday.
President Trump says he’s showing up for the SOTU! But the House still has to pass a resolution convening a joint session of Congress. pic.twitter.com/adNQ1WciYy— Tamara Keith (@tamarakeithNPR) 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 added at the end, in a typical Trumpian flourish.
Pelosi responded within a couple hours, telling Trump that the House will "not consider a concurrent resolution" authorizing the president's speech in the House chamber until the government has reopened, in effect rescinding her invitation.
The letter exchange is just the latest twist in the war of words between Trump, a Republican, and the congressional Democrats. At the end of last year, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) blocked the approval of a bill passed by the Republican-majority House giving $5.6 billion to Trump’s proposed border wall, triggering a government shutdown. Pelosi, who became Speaker on January 3, after a new Democrat-majority House was sworn in, has flat-out refused any funding for the wall, ever, calling it “immoral.”
About a quarter of the government has been shuttered as a result, with some 800,000 federal workers either sent home or made to work without pay until the impasse is resolved.
Attempting to leverage Trump into surrendering, Pelosi sent the January 16 letter about security concerns, bringing up the fact that Trump’s Secret Service security detail and indeed the entire Department of Homeland Security are among the furloughed feds.Also on rt.com No SOTU till government reopens: Pelosi threatens to deplatform Trump
Both DHS and the Secret Service immediately chimed in to say that this mission was critical and would not be affected. Trump also fired back the following day, denying Pelosi the use of US military assets for congressional travel – including a trip she and a delegation of House Democrats have already embarked on, to Belgium and and Afghanistan. Pelosi fumed, but did not take the final step of dis-inviting the president at the time.
Under Article II, Section 3 of the US Constitution, the president “shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” It was traditionally delivered in writing until President Woodrow Wilson appeared in person before the joint session of Congress in 1913.
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