President Trump still plans to deliver the State of the Union on the House floor on Jan. 29 in spite of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif) objections.
In a letter to Pelosi Wednesday, Trump said that there are "no security concerns" with having the event during the government shutdown. This is what Pelosi had cited in her letter to Trump last week asking to postpone the speech, but Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said having the event on Jan. 29 was not a problem. "Therefore, I will be honoring your invitation and fulfilling my Constitutional duty" next Tuesday, Trump wrote.
Trump concluded by telling Pelosi that "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!"
The president cannot actually deliver his speech on the House floor next week unless the House passes a resolution approving it. ABC News reported that Republicans were encouraging Trump to announce his intention to speak next Tuesday, therefore requiring her to actually disinvite him if she wants a delay. If she were to do so, the plan is reportedly for Trump to instead speak at a rally on Tuesday. But for now, the ball's in Pelosi's court. Brendan Morrow
With just a week left to go until the State of the Union's scheduled date, Republicans and Democrats remain in a state of confusion.
Although House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) last week requested President Trump delay the Jan. 29 address in light of the partial government shutdown, ABC News and Fox News report the White House is still planning to go ahead with that date. They've apparently asked the House sergeant-at-arms to schedule a walk-through ahead of the speech, indicating that they expect it to take place next Tuesday before both chambers of Congress.
But that can't happen unless Pelosi actually brings up a resolution approving the Jan. 29 date for a vote in the House, and it's unclear whether she will do so. Pelosi last week didn't say she was officially disinviting Trump from delivering the address, and her letter to the president was framed as a request, but she does have the power to not invite him. If she goes this route, ABC News reports Trump has a plan B: he may still deliver the State of the Union but would do so at a rally held somewhere other than Washington, D.C.
In fact, ABC News says, the White House is actually writing two versions of the speech, one for if Trump delivers it on the House floor, and one for if he delivers it at a rally. The president had teased a possibly untraditional State of the Union on Twitter Sunday, saying that "there are so many options." Brendan Morrow
With House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) floating the idea of disinviting President Trump from delivering the State of the Union, the president is apparently looking for another way in.
Officials in the White House are "discussing" whether it's possible for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to invite Trump to deliver the address, CBS reports. Pelosi on Wednesday wrote a letter to Trump suggesting they delay the State of the Union, which had previously been scheduled for Jan. 29. She said there are "security concerns" because of the ongoing partial government shutdown, although Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen subsequently said the department is actually "fully prepared" for the event.
It's the House speaker's role to invite the president to the State of the Union, and Pelosi did not actually say Wednesday the event was off or that she wouldn't bring a Jan. 29 resolution up for approval. But either way, White House officials reportedly see Pelosi's move as "a sign of weakness" in the shutdown fight, believing she's afraid Trump will use the address to rally the nation to his side.
Trump himself has not yet officially responded to Pelosi's State of the Union suggestion. Brendan Morrow