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on or off?
January 16, 2019

Is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) formally disinviting President Trump from delivering his State of the Union address on Jan. 29, or merely suggesting it be postponed? It seems even the House majority leader isn't quite sure.

Pelosi said in a letter to Trump Wednesday that the State of the Union should be rescheduled in light of the partial government shutdown. Pelosi used the word "suggest" in her letter, though, and didn't declare that the event was officially canceled or that she was rescinding the invitation.

But House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) went on CNN and said that Pelosi wasn't really making a request and that the address is, in fact, not happening as planned. "The State of the Union is off," he told CNN, per Talking Points Memo. Hoyer explained that it's the speaker of the House who invites the president to address Congress, suggesting Pelosi is rescinding her invite to Trump until the government re-opens. When asked if the Democrats could be convinced otherwise if Trump wants to keep the Jan. 29 date, Hoyer simply responded, "No."

But almost immediately after this CNN segment aired, a spokesperson for Hoyer walked this statement back, saying he just "misunderstood" the situation because he didn't actually read Pelosi's letter, Slate's Jim Newell reports. "Still just a proposal from Pelosi, not a formal disinvitation," the spokesperson said, also telling The New York Times' Julie Davis that Hoyer had "mischaracterized" the letter.

Pelosi's office also says that she's simply making a proposal and not actually disinviting Trump — for now, at least. Brendan Morrow

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