Americas

House speaker asks Trump to delay State of Union speech

Nancy Pelosi cites security lapses prompted by ongoing government shutdown; says president can otherwise submit in writing

16.01.2019
House speaker asks Trump to delay State of Union speech

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged President Donald Trump on Wednesday to delay his State of the Union address as long as the partial government shutdown is ongoing.

Alternatively, Pelosi wrote in a letter to the president, Trump could submit his speech in writing to the Congress if he wishes to go forward with the planned Jan. 29 national address.

Pelso said the shutdown, now on day 26, has stymied the Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security "with critical departments hamstrung by furloughs."

"Sadly, given the security concerns and unless 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 the Congress on January 29th," Pelosi wrote.

While Pelosi conveyed her letter as a courteous request, it is her decision as to when the House hosts the president for his annual prime-time address to the nation.

The House leader further suggested in remarks to reporters that Trump could conduct the State of the Union from the Oval Office if he so chooses.

The shutdown is already the longest in U.S. government history, and is set to round out its fourth week on Saturday.

Trump insists that lawmakers provide him with nearly $6 billion to fund the construction of his separation barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border, but Democrats have so far uniformly rejected the demand, claiming a wall is inefficient and immoral.

Democrats have passed several bills to reopen the government without the funding, but Trump has worked alongside congressional Republicans to ensure they do not clear the federal legislature.

Public opinion polling indicates the majority of Americans blame the president and congressional Republicans for the funding deadlock, with Trump having the lowest approval ratings in a year.

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