'Absurd, Petty, and Shameful': Senator Lindsey Graham Slams Speaker Pelosi's Postponement of the State of the Union

GOP Senator Lindsey Graham slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's postponement of President Donald Trump's State of the Union address as "absurd, petty, and shameful."

Pelosi, a California Democrat, wrote to the president on Thursday to say the House would not authorize his State of the Union address in its chamber until the government shutdown ends.

"I look forward to welcoming you to the House on a mutually agreeable date for this address when government has been opened," Pelosi wrote.

Writing on Twitter, Graham, who represents South Carolina, called Pelosi's decision "a new low for American politics. The State of the Union is a tradition which has been carried out during times of war and peace, turmoil and tranquility," Graham tweeted.

"It is an important piece of our history and government… Speaker Pelosi's decision to ignore this long-standing American tradition is absurd, petty, and shameful. The judgement of history will NOT be kind."

At a press briefing, Trump accused the Democrats of being "radicalized" after his address was cancelled: "I'm not surprised. It's really a shame what's happening with the Democrats. They've become radicalized."

There is a partial shutdown of the federal government because the Democrat-controlled House will not approve a budget that gives Trump or the Republicans any of the $5.7 billion they demand to build a wall at the southern border with Mexico.

Prior to the shutdown, which began on December 22, Trump said he would take responsibility for closing the government—leaving 800,000 federal employees unpaid—if no deal could be reached, and that he was "proud" to do so "for border security."

As a consequence of the shutdown, many federal employees are relying on foodbanks and other handouts to get by without their paychecks.

Democrats argue that the border wall is expensive and ineffective. They say they are willing to approve a budget that includes more money for border security, and have passed their own financial plan, including for new technology and infrastructure—but nothing for the wall.

Trump claims his wall is essential to secure the southern border. He believes there is a crisis at the border—which the Democrats dispute—and has said if Congress does not give him the money he may declare a national emergency to get what he wants.

The president recently canceled at the last minute the use of military aircraft by Pelosi and other Democrats to visit American troops in Afghanistan because of the shutdown.

Pelosi then accused the White House of leaking plans—which it denied—to use a commercial airliner instead, compromising the trip's security and forcing her to postpone it altogether.

Polling suggests the shutdown is not going well for Trump. According to a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll released on Thursday, 54% of American voters blamed Trump and Congressional Republicans for the shutdown compared to 35% who blamed the Democrats on Capitol Hill.

Nearly half of voters, 49%, blamed Trump personally for the shutdown, the poll said, an increase of 6% since it began.

"As the government shutdown enters its second month, President Trump continues to carry the bulk of the blame among voters for the stalemate," Tyler Sinclair, Morning Consult's vice president, told POLITICO.

Lindsey Graham Nancy Pelosi
US Senator Lindsey Graham holds a media conference at JW Marriott Hotel in Ankara, Turkey, on January 19, 2019. On Twitter, Graham attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's decision to suspend President Donald Trump's State of the Union address in her chamber. ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images
'Absurd, Petty, and Shameful': Senator Lindsey Graham Slams Speaker Pelosi's Postponement of the State of the Union | U.S.