In a pair of tweets late Wednesday night, President Trump announced he would give the State of the Union address “when the Shutdown is over” following a weeklong standoff with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Trump said he is not looking for an alternative venue, “because there is no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber.”
As the Shutdown was going on, Nancy Pelosi asked me to give the State of the Union Address. I agreed. 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. I am not looking for an....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 24, 2019
....alternative venue for the SOTU Address because there is no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber. I look forward to giving a “great” State of the Union Address in the near future!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 24, 2019
Pelosi had asked Trump to delay the speech until after the shutdown, but the White House tried to ignore the request, announcing Trump would move forward with the Jan. 29 date.
But Pelosi blocked the move, telling the White House earlier Wednesday that the House would not approve a resolution allowing Trump to address a joint session of Congress.
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.
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.