President Trump intends to deliver the State of the Union address as planned on Tuesday, questioning the security concerns expressed by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the New York Times reports. Pelosi had previously requested that the president choose a different date as the partial government shutdown continues.
Trump made the announcement through a public letter to Pelosi, per the New York Times, indicating that after checking with the Secret Service he was not aware of any security concerns which would prohibit the speech from going forward as planned.
“Therefore I will be honoring your invitation, and fulfilling my Constitutional duty, to deliver important information to the people and Congress of the United States of America regarding the State of our Union,” he wrote. “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!”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer addressed the plan prior to release of the letter, confirming that Capitol Police were ready to provide appropriate security for the State of the Union to continue per the president’s wishes.
Trump’s rejection of Pelosi’s request to reschedule the address marks only the latest in the political back-and-forth between the two as the partial government shutdown continues. Immediately following the speaker’s directive to move the State of the Union, Trump publicly called for her to cancel a planned trip to visit American troops in Afghanistan.
“In light of the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay, I am sure you would agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate,” Trump wrote at the time.
“I also feel that, during this period, it would be better if you were in Washington negotiating with me and joining the strong border security movement to end the shutdown.”
The 800,000 workers are a reference to those affected by the ongoing partial government shutdown, which has now entered its 33rd day and is the longest in United States history. Central to the budget impasse that necessitated the shutdown is funding for the border wall, a key Trump campaign promise that remains the president’s top immediate priority. Democrats refuse to accede to the president’s wishes to allot just over $5 billion in spending towards the barrier.
BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 23, 2019
The partisan divide over funding for the wall — and reopening the government in general — is largely playing out through the ongoing altercation between the president and the speaker.
“I look forward to seeing you on the evening of January 29th in the Chamber of the House of Representatives,” Trump wrote in the close of his letter.