U.S.

Donald Trump Tweets He Will Postpone State of the Union Address Until Government Reopens

The State of the Union address, the president's annual speech, will not go ahead as planned on January 29.

President Donald Trump tweeted his decision to postpone the message on Wednesday, hours after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi informed him that he would not be allowed to deliver the address to Congress until the government has reopened.

"As the Shutdown was going on, Nancy Pelosi asked me to give the State of the Union Address. I agreed. She then changed her mind because of the Shutdown, suggesting a later date," Trump tweeted. "This is her prerogative—I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over. I am not looking for an alternative venue for the SOTU Address because there is no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber. I look forward to giving a “great” State of the Union Address in the near future!"

The president's announcement is the latest development in a week-long exchange between Trump and Pelosi. Pelosi initially cited security concerns when she told the president on January 16 that his address should be postponed or, if he preferred, delivered in writing. 

However, Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen stressed in a media briefing that the Secret Service and Homeland Security would be able to handle security for the speech.

In response to Pelosi's letter, Trump revoked the use of military aircraft for trips to Belgium, Egypt and Afghanistan, telling the house speaker that she could reschedule her trip when the shutdown ends.

As of January 22, the White House reportedly was moving ahead with planning and preparations for the address, NPR reported.

Those preparations were reinforced by Trump's letter to Pelosi on Wednesday, when the president said he had already accepted an invitation to speak on January 3 and planned to move forward.

“Even prior to asking, I was contacted by the Department of Homeland Security and United States Secret Service to explain that there would be absolutely no problem regarding security with respect to the event. They have since confirmed this publicly," Trump said in his letter.

“Therefore, 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. 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!”

However, hours later, Pelosi responded with a letter of her own, denying Trump a concurrent resolution—a vote that allows a joint session of Congress to convene—to give the speech. The house speaker must also give the president permission to speak from the podium.

"I am writing to inform you that the House of Representatives will not consider a concurrent resolution authorizing the President’s State of the Union address in the House Chamber until government has opened," Pelosi wrote, adding that a "mutually agreeable date" could be decided upon for the speech when the government reopened.

Numerous reports indicated that Trump was considering alternate venues for the address. Several House Republicans, including Indiana Representive Jim Banks, drafted a letter to urge Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow the president to deliver his address on the floor of the Senate instead.

Though the letter was sent last week, a response had not been received as of Wednesday, USA Today reported.

Shortly after Trump's announcement, Pelosi responded on Twitter, saying, "Mr. President, I hope by saying “near future” you mean you will support the House-passed package to #EndTheShutdown that the Senate will vote on tomorrow. Please accept this proposal so we can re-open government, repay our federal workers and then negotiate our differences."

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