Trump confirms Pelosi blocked State of the Union address until shutdown over

by Bamidele Ogunberu Posted on January 24th, 2019

Washington: U.S. President Donald Trump says he will wait until the government shutdown is over to deliver his State of the Union address from the House of Representatives.

Mr Trump, who took to Twitter to announce his decision, criticized House leader Nancy Pelosi for withdrawing a previous invitation to deliver the address because of the shutdown, which has lasted more than a month and affected 800,000 federal workers.

“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,” he wrote.

Ms Pelosi, the House of Representatives Speaker, had earlier blocked Mr Trump’s plan to deliver the annual speech in the House chamber until the partial government shutdown ends.

She wrote to inform Mr Trump of the decision on Thursday morning (Australian time).

“The House of Representatives will not consider a concurrent resolution authorising the president’s State of the Union address in the House chamber until government has opened,” she said.

Passage of such a resolution is required before the President can speak in the House.

The speech had been set for January 29.

Mr Trump had said earlier that he planned to deliver the State of the Union address in the House chamber as scheduled, rejecting a request from Ms Pelosi that he delay it.

Speaking from the White House after Ms Pelosi’s letter became public, he vowed to formally respond soon.

“I’m not surprised,” he said.

“It’s really a shame what’s happening with the Democrats. They’ve become radicalised. They don’t want to see crime stopped.”

Asked about possibly making his address at a new venue, the President replied: “We’ll see.”

In an escalation of rhetoric that essentially dared Ms Pelosi to block him, Mr Trump earlier told her in a letter, released by the White House, that he was “looking forward” to giving the speech, an annual event in American politics.

“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!” Mr Trump wrote.

Mr Trump has not spoken directly with Ms Pelosi since a January 9 meeting in the White House, during which he abruptly walked out after  MsPelosi told him she would not support border wall funding.

The President has also not spoken to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer since that meeting.

Polls show most Americans blame Mr Trump for the shutdown, and say border wall funding isn’t worth closing down parts of the government.

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