UPDATE – Nancy Pelosi has denied Trump’s request to authorize the State of the Union address:
From Axios: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent President Trump a letter Wednesday stating that the House “will not consider a resolution authorizing the President’s State of the Union in the House Chamber until the government has opened.”
BREAKING: Nancy Pelosi has sent President Trump a letter stating that the House “will not consider a resolution authorizing the President’s State of the Union in the House Chamber until the government has opened.” https://t.co/slx214IYMh
— Axios (@axios) January 23, 2019
President Trump issued a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday, informing her that he would go ahead with the State of the Union address despite her request to have it postponed.
The President, according to his letter, will proceed with the speech as planned.
“I will be honoring your invitation, and fulfilling my Constitutional duty, to deliver important information to the people and Congress of the United States of America regarding the State of our Union,” he wrote.
Calling Her Out
Trump also called Pelosi out over her supposed security concerns amidst the shutdown.
“Sadly, given the security concerns and unless the government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address …” Pelosi wrote in her own letter last week.
Trump informs Pelosi that he’s coming to the Hill next Tuesday for the State of the Union pic.twitter.com/z7Cp6wa2PT
— Elizabeth Landers (@ElizLanders) January 23, 2019
Trump informed the Speaker that the Department of Homeland Security confirmed to him privately that “there would be absolutely no problem regarding security with respect to the event.”
In short, Pelosi lied, and she’s been exposed once again.
Homeland Security Said They’ve Been Ready For Months
An official with the Department of Homeland Security already publicly acknowledged that Pelosi had been lying about security concerns for the State of the Union, saying they had been preparing for it months before the shutdown took effect.
“We are ready,” the official told Fox News. “Despite the fact members of the Secret Service are not being paid, the protective mission has not changed.”
The Department of Homeland Security and the US Secret Service are fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union. We thank the Service for their mission focus and dedication and for all they do each day to secure our homeland.
— Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen (@SecNielsen) January 16, 2019
Calling Her Bluff
Now the ball is back in Pelosi’s court. Trump accepting the original invitation is great, but the House and Senate must still pass resolutions convening the session.
That means Pelosi still has the final say. Will she relent and allow the President to speak, or will she stick to her guns? Trump is clearly calling her bluff.
Does it Matter?
Perhaps Pelosi and the Democrats simply don’t want to look like fools as they did during President Trump’s SOTU address last year.
During that address, Democrats refused to applaud such items as a historically low African-American unemployment rate, employee bonuses, millions of jobs created, the American flag, the phrase our nation was built on – ‘In God We Trust,’ the National Anthem, border security, and on and on …
If Pelosi decides to dig in and prevent Trump from delivering his remarks to a joint session of Congress, then the President could find any of a number of other locations to present to the American people.
A State of the Union at the border might be the perfect location.