Likely mindful of the optics of President Trump criticizing Democrats for refusing to fund border security, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Wednesday urged him to delay his State of the Union address.
Or just print up the speech and send it over to Congress.
Fox News called Pelosi’s request “extraordinary,” with Trump scheduled to deliver the annual address to a joint session of Congress on Jan. 29.
Even if Pelosi would formally withdraw the invitation, Trump would have other options, such as delivering it from the Oval Office or arranging an invitation from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Pelosi said the delay was necessary because of the partial shutdown of the government and “security” concerns.
“On January 3rd, it was my privilege as speaker to invite you to deliver the State of the Union address on January 29,” she wrote. “The Constitution calls for the president ‘from time to time give the Congress Information of the State of the Union.'”
But she cited the shutdown and said: “Given the security concerns and unless the government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to Congress on January 29.”
She pointed out that the Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security haven’t been funded for 26 days – leaving out that House Democrats have refused to approve a bill acceptable to the Senate.
She said the “full resources” of the federal government are needed to assure the security of the event, where Congress, the president, vice president, Supreme Court members and others would be present.
The address has been delivered in person in recent decades, but that has not always been so.
And commentator Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner suggested that a written address might be the better choice at this point.
“The State of the Union as a television event may have served a purpose in the past, when the ability of Americans to see or hear the president and understand his priorities was somewhat limited. Also, in the past, when there were issues on which the parties could work together, there may have been some justification for the president making the case for his agenda to the whole Congress,” he explained. But he said a written address, or maybe some social media statements, would do the job now.
And he noted: “As an added bonus, if killing off the staged State of the Union isn’t enough, by scrapping it he’d also be killing off the State of the Union response. That alone would make him a national hero!”
President Trump has cited both national security and humanitarian crises at the southern border in asking for $5.7 billion for border security, including barriers.
Democrats not only flat out refused to include border security funding, they refused even to negotiate or discuss it.
Fox News reported: “Negotiations between Democrats and the president have grown increasingly contentious. Last week, a tense White House meeting ended abruptly, with the president walking out of the room after Pelosi maintained that she would not accept a spending package with wall funding.”
Pelosi claimed that Trump was “petulant,” and Sen. Chuck Schumer claimed the president had a “temper tantrump,” a statement refuted by other people who were there.
This week, every Democratic lawmaker invited to the White House to discuss the issue refused to show up.
The president repeatedly has affirmed his willingness to negotiate and compromise on the issue.
Politico reported, “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.”