The political feud between President Donald Trump and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi continued Wednesday as Pelosi sent a letter to Trump to inform him that there would be no State of the Union address in the House chamber until the government shutdown was brought to an end.
“When I extended an invitation on January 3rd for you to deliver the State of the Union address, it was on the mutually agreed upon date, January 29th. At that time, there was no thought that the government would still be shut down,” Pelosi’s letter said.
“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.
This afternoon, I sent @realDonaldTrump a letter informing him 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. https://t.co/r1oad0xEAhpic.twitter.com/kGEbayx95u
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 23, 2019
Both the House and the Senate would need to pass resolutions to hold a Joint Session of Congress prior to the president coming to Capitol Hill to deliver the annual address, CNN reports. As House Speaker, Pelosi control the chamber’s proceedings and would have to call for a vote for the president’s visit to the Capitol.
“Again, I look forward to welcoming you to the House on a mutually agreeable date for this address when government has been opened,” Pelosi's letter concluded.
After receiving Pelosi’s letter, Trump told reporters at the White House he was “not surprised” by Pelosi’s decision to rescind her invitation.
“I’m not surprised. It’s really a shame what’s happening with the Democrats, they’ve become radicalized,” Trump said when he was asked for a response to the speaker’s letter during a photo-op in the Roosevelt Room.
“The State of the Union has been canceled by Nancy Pelosi because she doesn’t want to hear the truth, she doesn't want the American people to hear what's going on,” Trump later said. “Now Nancy Pelosi, or Nancy as I call her, she doesn’t want to hear the truth and she doesn't want to hear the American people to hear the truth,” Trump said.
“I think that’s a great blotch on the great country we all love, it's a great, great horrible mark. I don't believe it's ever happened before,” Trump said. “It’s always good to be part of history but this is a negative part of history. This is where people are afraid to open up and say what's going on.”
Pelosi, according to ABC News, had initially invited Trump to deliver the State of the Union address in a letter on January 3rd, after the government shutdown began on December 22nd of last year. As the government shutdown continued on, Pelosi wrote again to Trump, urging him to postpone the address due to security concerns since the law enforcement agencies tasked with protecting the Capitol during the address had been affected by the shutdown.
The Department of Homeland Security later dismissed those concerns, saying its agents had been preparing for this event for months and would be prepared whether the government was still shut down or not, CNN reports.
The president pushed the point on Wednesday, saying, “I just got back from Iraq. I was very safe in Iraq and I felt very safe. We had great, great security. If we can handle Iraq, we can handle the middle of Washington in a very, very spectacular building in a beautiful room, that we should be in and that's where it's been for a very long time.”
According to ABC News, Trump had still planned on delivering his State of the Union address at the Capitol as of Wednesday, writing in a new letter to Pelosi that he would 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.”
President Trump’s letter to Speaker Pelosi on the State of the Union pic.twitter.com/B4QN9hDJnv
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) January 23, 2019
“I look forward to seeing you on the evening on January 29th in the Chamber of the House of Representative,” Trump concluded his message. “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!”
Returning to the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, Pelosi reiterated that Trump was not welcome at the Capitol until after the government had been reopened.
“I still make the offer: let's work together on a mutually agreeable date, as the original date was, mutually agreeable, so we can welcome him properly to the Capitol,” Pelosi said.