Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) asked President Donald Trump to postpone his scheduled State of the Union address until after the government has reopened — citing “security concerns” as the official reason.
But there may be other reasons for her postponement request. “Privately, Democrats also don’t want to give Trump a major platform to blame them for the shutdown when Trump’s demand for billions in wall funding has been the main driver, according to a Democratic lawmaker close to leadership,” Politico reported on Wednesday.
Trump initially was to address Congress on January 29 in the House of Representatives chamber. But Pelosi asked the president in a letter sent to him on Wednesday to reschedule the televised speech after the government reopens — or “consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to Congress” on the 29th of the month.
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“Today, I wrote to @realDonaldTrump recommending that we delay the State of the Union until after government reopens, as the @SecretService, the lead federal agency for #SOTU security, faces its 26th day without funding,” Pelosi tweeted Wednesday.
She included a picture of her letter.
Today, I wrote to @realDonaldTrump recommending that we delay the State of the Union until after government re-opens, as the @SecretService, the lead federal agency for #SOTU security, faces its 26th day without funding. https://t.co/K2oL8WGvqo pic.twitter.com/g3fIlxDbbK
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 16, 2019
“On January 3rd, it was my privilege as speaker to invite you to deliver the State of the Union address on January 29,” Pelosi wrote, noting that although the Constitution “calls for the president ‘from time to time give the Congress information of the State of the Union,'” the address “has never been delivered during a government shutdown.”
“Sadly, given the security concerns and unless the government reopens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has reopened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to Congress on January 29,” Pelosi wrote.
The speaker noted that the partial government shutdown — which began just before Christmas — has stretched into its 26th day.
As a result, many federal workers have been furloughed and missed their first paycheck, although they will be paid later.
Some “non-essential” divisions of the government partially closed after Democrats refused to give Trump the $5 billion he requested in border wall funding.
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Trump delivered his first Oval Office address last week in a prime-time TV address. He pointedly asked Democrats, “How much more American blood must we shed before Congress does its job?” But Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) delivered their joint rebuttals that same night — and have since refused to budge on border wall funding or offer any deal that includes any wall funding.
“It is becoming more and more obvious that the radical Democrats are a party of open borders and crime. They want nothing to do with the major humanitarian crisis on our southern border. #2020!” Trump tweeted on Wednesday.
It is becoming more and more obvious that the Radical Democrats are a Party of open borders and crime. They want nothing to do with the major Humanitarian Crisis on our Southern Border. #2020!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 16, 2019
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” that the Democrats have “shown us that they are unwilling to negotiate in good faith” to end the government shutdown.
“Nancy Pelosi has been unwilling to do anything, and that’s simply not going to work and it’s not going to fix the problem,” Sanders warned. “And she’s got to get serious about doing her job and not just be serious about being a political figure.”
“Democrats have got to stop ignoring the problem, sit down with the president at the table, and help us come to a solution,” she added. “It’s now time for Democrats to work with us and fix this problem. So far they’ve been unwilling to do so at the hands of their leadership and Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.”
A bipartisan group of lawmakers called the Problem Solvers Caucus are meeting with Trump on Wednesday to discuss whether both sides can negotiate a deal on providing border security and reopening the government.
Schumer and Pelosi, however, are still urging the Democrats to stick together and resist any funding of the wall.
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