Donald Trump’s annual State of the Union address, scheduled for Tuesday, January 29, will not be happening — even though the government shutdown has ended — CNN is reporting.
Nancy Pelosi confirmed to the network that the address is currently not on the president’s schedule, and will remain off the schedule until further notice. This confirms what had Pelosi had said earlier.
“The State of the Union is not planned now.”
During the partial government shutdown — which ran from December 22, 2018, until January 25, 2019 — the fate of the annual address, mandated by the Constitution, was in doubt. Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went back-and-forth about the address. Pelosi considered the address the “least important” thing that the president and Congress should be debating about.
Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, in a Twitter message, appeared almost gleeful that the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives could essentially deny Trump the opportunity to give the address before Congress.
“Individual 1 will not be permitted to deliver his state of the union address until government is reopened. Welcome to life in the New Democratic Majority. Get used to it.”
On January 16, as CNN reported at the time, Pelosi had concerns about Trump giving the address from the floor of Congress, as the president traditionally does. Pelosi mentioned security concerns, considering that Capitol Police were working without pay, and much of the police force was laid off.
“Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest 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 29,”
Trump refused to give the speech in writing. Another option offered by Pelosi was to give the address from the Oval Office, something that would have side-stepped the security concerns and, in the process, turn the speech into a much more low-key affair. Trump declined that option as well.
The final option, which ultimately wound up taking place, was to delay the address until after the partial government shutdown. However, now that the shutdown has ended, the date of the address still remains uncertain.
Part of the problem is that, for the president to be allowed to give the address from the floor of Congress, both the Senate and the House must pass a joint resolution allowing it to happen. Though largely a procedural and customary vote, with Pelosi acting as Speaker, she can control when — or even if — the House votes on the matter.
It remains unclear, as of this writing, when — or from where — Trump will deliver his State of the Union address.