Trump Postpones State of Union 01/24 06:17

Trump Postpones State of Union         01/24 06:17

   President Donald Trump said he is postponing his State of the Union address 
until the partial government shutdown ends, yielding after a weeklong showdown 
with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump said he is postponing his State of 
the Union address until the partial government shutdown ends, yielding after a 
weeklong showdown with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

   Following a high-stakes game of dare and double-dare, Trump conceded 
Wednesday night that "no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and 
importance of the House Chamber." He said he was not looking for an alternate 
option after Pelosi served notice earlier in the day that he wouldn't be 
allowed to deliver the address to a joint session of Congress next week.

   Pelosi had taken the step after Trump said he planned to show up in spite of 
Democratic objections to the speech taking place with large swaths of the 
government shut down.

   Denied that grand venue, Trump promised to come up with some sort of 
alternative event. The White House scrambled to find a site matching the 
gravitas of the traditional address from the rostrum of the House to lawmakers 
from both parties, Supreme Court justices, invited guests and a television 
audience of millions.

   "As the Shutdown was going on, Nancy Pelosi asked me to give the State of 
the Union Address. I agreed," Trump tweeted shortly after 11 p.m. EST. "She 
then changed her mind because of the Shutdown, suggesting a later date. This is 
her prerogative - I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over."

   Fireworks over the speech shot back and forth between the Capitol and the 
White House as the monthlong partial government shutdown showed no signs of 
ending and about 800,000 federal workers faced the prospect of going without 
their second paycheck in a row come Friday.

   Pelosi told Trump the House wouldn't approve a resolution allowing him to 
address Congress until the shutdown ended. Trump shot back that Pelosi was 
afraid of hearing the truth.

   "I think that's a great blotch on the incredible country that we all love," 
Trump said earlier Wednesday. "It's a great, great horrible mark."

   The drama surrounding the State of the Union address began last week when 
Pelosi asked Trump to make other plans but stopped short of denying him the 
chamber for his address. Trump called her bluff Wednesday in a letter, saying 
he intended to come anyway.

   "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," he wrote.

   Pelosi quickly squelched the speech, writing back 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."

   The president cannot speak in front of a joint session of Congress without 
both chambers' explicit permission. A resolution needs to be approved by both 
chambers specifying the date and time for receiving an address from the 
president.

   The gamesmanship unfolded as the Senate prepared to vote this week on 
dueling proposals on the shutdown. A Republican one would give Trump money for 
the wall while one from Democrats would re-open government through Feb. 8, with 
no wall money, giving bargainers time to talk about it.

   Both proposals were likely to fail to reach the 60-vote threshold needed in 
the Senate, where Republicans hold a 53-47 majority. As well, House Democrats 
were putting forward a new proposal, aiming to lure Trump away from his demand 
for a border wall by offering billions of new dollars for other border security 
measures.

   The Constitution states only that the president "shall from time to time 
give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union," meaning the 
president can speak anywhere he chooses or give his update in writing. The 
address has been delayed before.

   Ronald Reagan's 1986 State of the Union address was postponed after the 
Challenger space shuttle exploded in flight on Jan. 28 of that year.  

   But there is no precedent for a State of the Union invitation being 
rescinded.

   Presidents Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower and Jimmy Carter issued their 
final messages in print. As Eisenhower recovered from a heart attack in 1956, 
he prepared a seven-minute, filmed summary of the message from his retreat in 
Key West, Florida, that was broadcast nationwide. Richard Nixon sent a printed 
message in 1973; his staff said an oral message would have come too soon after 
his second inaugural address.

   White House officials have been working on a backup plan to have Trump give 
the speech somewhere else if Democrats blocked access to the House chamber. 
Nevertheless, they were rattled by Pelosi's move Wednesday and expressed 
concern it would further sour shutdown negotiations.

   Officials have been considering a speech in the Senate chamber and a visit 
to a state on the southern border. Multiple versions of the speech were being 
drafted to suit the final venue. Trump has been presented with a series of 
options for making the address and is expected to decide within the next day or 
so, said a person familiar with White House discussions but not authorized to 
speak publicly about them.

   Pelosi said that when she extended her Jan. 3 invitation to Trump to deliver 
the State of the Union address on Jan. 29, there was no thought that the 
government would still be shut down.

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

   Moments after her letter became public, Trump told reporters he wasn't 
surprised by Pelosi's action. Democrats have become "radicalized," he claimed. 
He expanded on those sentiments during a subsequent event at the White House, 
calling the cancellation a "disgrace" and asserting that Pelosi didn't want to 
hear the truth about the need for better border security.

   The White House and Democratic lawmakers have been accusing one another of 
pettiness since Pelosi raised doubts about the speech. Trump followed up by 
revoking her use of a military plane for a congressional delegation visit to 
Afghanistan.

   North Carolina's House speaker, Tim Moore, invited Trump to deliver the 
speech in the North Carolina House chamber. Michigan House Speaker Lee 
Chatfield has offered his state capitol. Trump spoke with both of them this 
week, according to Moore's office and a tweet from Chatfield.


(KA)

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