TRUMP CAVES: Agrees to Pelosi Demand He Only Give State of the Union Once Shutdown Ends

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President Donald Trump said Wednesday night he is postponing his State of the Union address until the partial government shutdown ends, yielding after a weeklong showdown with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Following a high-stakes game of dare and double-dare, Trump conceded that “no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber” and that he was not looking for an alternate option after Pelosi served notice earlier Wednesday that he won’t be allowed to deliver the address to a joint session of Congress next week.

Pelosi had taken the step after Trump said he planned to show up in spite of Democratic objections to the speech taking place with large swaths of the government shut down.

Denied that grand venue, Trump promised to come up with some sort of alternative event. The White House scrambled to find a site matching the gravitas of the traditional address from the rostrum of the House to lawmakers from both parties, Supreme Court justices, invited guests and a television audience of millions.

“As the Shutdown was going on, Nancy Pelosi asked me to give the State of the Union Address. I agreed,” Trump tweeted. “She then changed her mind because of the Shutdown, suggesting a later date. This is her prerogative – I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over.”

Fireworks over the speech shot back and forth between the Capitol and the White House as the monthlong partial government shutdown showed no signs of ending and about 800,000 federal workers faced the prospect of going without their second paycheck in a row come Friday.

Pelosi told Trump the House wouldn’t approve a resolution allowing him to address Congress until the shutdown ended. Trump shot back that Pelosi was afraid of hearing the truth.

“I think that’s a great blotch on the incredible country that we all love,” Trump said earlier Wednesday. “It’s a great, great horrible mark.”

The drama surrounding the State of the Union address began last week when Pelosi asked Trump to make other plans but stopped short of denying him the chamber for his address. Trump called her bluff Wednesday in a letter, saying he intended to come anyway.

“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 quickly squelched the speech, writing back that the House “will not consider a concurrent resolution authorizing the President’s State of the Union address in the House Chamber until government has opened.”

The president cannot speak in front of a joint session of Congress without both chambers’ explicit permission. A resolution needs to be approved by both chambers specifying the date and time for receiving an address from the president.

The gamesmanship unfolded as the Senate prepared to vote this week on dueling proposals on the shutdown. A Republican one would give Trump money for the wall while one from Democrats would re-open government through Feb. 8, with no wall money, giving bargainers time to talk about it.

Both proposals were likely to fail to reach the 60-vote threshold needed in the Senate, where Republicans hold a 53-47 majority. As well, House Democrats were putting forward a new proposal, aiming to lure Trump away from his demand for a border wall by offering billions of new dollars for other border security measures.

The Constitution states only that the president “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union,” meaning the president can speak anywhere he chooses or give his update in writing. The address has been delayed before.

Ronald Reagan’s 1986 State of the Union address was postponed after the Challenger space shuttle exploded in flight on Jan. 28 of that year.

But there is no precedent for a State of the Union invitation being rescinded.

Presidents Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower and Jimmy Carter issued their final messages in print. As Eisenhower recovered from a heart attack in 1956, he prepared a seven-minute, filmed summary of the message from his retreat in Key West, Florida, that was broadcast nationwide. Richard Nixon sent a printed message in 1973; his staff said an oral message would have come too soon after his second inaugural address.

White House officials have been working on a backup plan to have Trump give the speech somewhere else if Democrats blocked access to the House chamber. Nevertheless, they were rattled by Pelosi’s move Wednesday and expressed concern it would further sour shutdown negotiations.

Officials have been considering a speech in the Senate chamber and a visit to a state on the southern border. Multiple versions of the speech were being drafted to suit the final venue. Trump has been presented with a series of options for making the address and is expected to decide within the next day or so, said a person familiar with White House discussions but not authorized to speak publicly about them.

Pelosi said that when she extended her Jan. 3 invitation to Trump to deliver the State of the Union address on Jan. 29, there was no thought that the government would still be shut down.

She wrote Wednesday: “I look forward to welcoming you to the House on a mutually agreeable date for this address when government has been opened.”

Moments after her letter became public, Trump told reporters he wasn’t surprised by Pelosi’s action. Democrats have become “radicalized,” he claimed. He expanded on those sentiments during a subsequent event at the White House, calling the cancellation a “disgrace” and asserting that Pelosi didn’t want to hear the truth about the need for better border security.

The White House and Democratic lawmakers have been accusing one another of pettiness since Pelosi raised doubts about the speech. Trump followed up by revoking her use of a military plane for a congressional delegation visit to Afghanistan.

North Carolina’s House speaker, Tim Moore, invited Trump to deliver the speech in the North Carolina House chamber. Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield has offered his state capitol. Trump spoke with both of them this week, according to Moore’s office and a tweet from Chatfield.

(AP)




21 COMMENTS

  1. A couple of inaccuracies, she has not said “you’re not welcome”, she suggested a postponement. She hasn’t refused to negotiate, he hasn’t invited democratic leaders back since he walked out on the negotiations.
    Why are there different versions of the address being prepared based on the venue?? It’s a report on the state of the Union, why would the report change depending upon where he’s standing?

  2. He can stand outside on Pennsylvania Avenue, in the Senate Chamber or in the Capital Visitors Center or fly out to Yenavelt and hold a MAGA rally with his chassidim lined up wearing MAGA tee shirts but he will not deliver the speech in the House Chamber unless he reopens the government agencies shut down. If he is too dumb to understand that reality, someone on his Staff should whisper in his ear.

  3. This development is very disconcerting and should worry everyone. What Nancy Peeloosy is doing is throwing the norms out which can translate into many other norms going out the window as well. This is very concerning and we pray that Trump is successful in out maneuvering and outsmarting her.

  4. The house belongs to the American people, and not to Pelosi. Her behavior is absolutely despicable. President Trump has invited Pelosi & Schumer many times to work this out. They have refused to come, being too busy vacationing. This will redound on Pelosi & Schumer, and shall earn many well deserved votes for President Donald Trump in 2020.

  5. Pilpel: Maybe you have a limited understanding of why the government is “shutdown” but its not Trump’s decision alone. To reopen, both House and Senate have to approve the seven FY 19 appropriations bills covering the closed agencies and Trump has to sign. Once he signs the appropriations bills, these agencies reopen and he has ZERO authority to unilaterally shut them down since they are funded until next September 30th.

  6. Kenzain- throwing out norms?? Where exactly have you been the last two years? Holding innocent American citizens hostage because you made an idiotic promise to your supporters, and why aren’t they outraged that he gave up on making Mexico pay for it?
    Nancy Pelosi is standing up for the norms, you’re a bit mixed up.

  7. I held my nose when I voted for Trump. But I have to agree with him on this issue. A country can’t have a situation where anyone can just walk in with no questions asked. I wasn’t sure myself if there was really a crisis down south until Mr. Trump went to the border last month and I saw how all law enforcement agencies were backing him. The Democrats are catering to the far left of their party, There is only one reason Polosy and Shumer are not funding border security. Because Trump is asking for it,

  8. Rt.
    He is not holding anyone hostage.
    For two years he has been building the wall without bothering any Americans. Then this broom rider comes along and stops him yes, from keeping a campaign promise that was definitely a major factor in getting him elected, so he says this is not negotiable.
    she shut down the government and is holding him and America hostage.
    Whether a wall works is unclear. But to call it idiotic is disingenuous.
    Where are we up to that we now excoriate a politician for trying to keep his promise???

  9. See the Master Negotiator skillfully negotiate himself out of the postion he held this morning.

    He’s got a book in case anyone is interested on how to replicate his masterful negotiating strategies. Makes for great fire this cold winter.

  10. He apparently has accepted an invitation from the MEXICAN congress to address a joint-session in Mexico City next week to discuss his plans for Mexico to pay for the Wall and for the Trump organization to open a new luxury condo tower in Tijuana. Following U.S. customs, the Mexican President will hold a pinanta’ party afterwards with the entire Trump mishpacha invited at which time, scale models of both the Wall and Condo Towers will be on display. Kelly Conway just indicated that VP Pence “who speaks fluent Mexican” and has nothing else to do, will be coordinating the arrangements with Ivanka and Marco Rubio (who is working to fly all the House Republicans down to Mexico City for this unprecedented event. They have entered into an agreement with Uman Airways for special chartered flights for all the Trumpkopfs who want to travel down to be with their leader on this special occasion.

  11. What norms? To list but a few, attempts at post hoc invalidation of the electoral process and the delusional denial of the election of POTUS, the war on freedom of speech (even the president hasn’t been spared – nope, can’ t give your SOTU here), an extremely partial press (dishonest is more accurate but also too mild – e.g., buzzfeed), the glorificationof lawlessness at the level of government (championing illegals (NOT asylum seekers)), the marginalizing and bigotry against of whites and Asians and anyone else with a non-victim status (including Jews), anti-semites being sworn in on the Koran, and so it goes. How sad that we’ve lost sight of that the government is by the people, for the people and serves All US CITIZENS, that the press is meant to keep its audience informed, and that bipartanship has its time and place. America and its values of the rights of the individual is being destroyed and replaced by a caste system and Jews are not at the top, as usual. How any Jew can support this leftist tyrannical take-over is incomprehensible.

  12. Hopefully, this whole “wall” broigas will be over in the next few weeks and the President will be allowed to deliver the speech in the House Chambers. We can joke about this but in the end, we need to restore some civility into politics and to do so, BOTH sides will have to start acting like grownups. The Dems can’t just say NO to anything Trump proposes but will have to work with Republicans to get some important stuff done for the next 2 years.

  13. Trump has conceded to keep some kind of order and dignity in the process. It’s what they call a grand gesture. Now is the time for Democrats to honestly discuss immigration and border security. I think the Democrats are actually more afraid of discussing immigration than the wall. They want to reopen the government and continue pushing the problems down the road. With Trump there will be no more “business as usual” where border security is unresolved and important immigration decisions are avoided.
    Yes the process is messy, but I give Trump credit for having the fortitude to take on this task. He promised to get things done as President, regardless of the political cost to himself. That’s what he is doing.
    It’s your move, Nancy.

  14. Anyone who has followed the president honestly for a while, knows that he did not cave. The president is three moves ahead of Nancy Pelosi. Nancy Pelosi is too stupid to realize the president is three moves ahead of her.

    In the meantime, THE PELOSI SCHUMER DEMOCRAT PARTY NO BORDER SECURITY SHUTDOWN CONTINUES!

  15. “I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck. … I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.”