Donald Trump will give his State of the Union address from the floor of the House on February 5 after Speaker Nancy Pelosi invited him to do so, KTTS-FM (Springfield, Missouri) is reporting.
In a letter, Pelosi formally invited Trump to give his speech from House floor. Traditionally, that’s where the president gives his annual speech, mandated by the Constitution. But Pelosi, as speaker, controls what happens there and when, and as a formality, she had to invite Trump to give his speech on the date in question. In his response, Trump accepted the invitation.
“It is my great honor to accept. We have a great story to tell and yet, great goals to achieve.”
Trump had originally planned to give his State of the Union address from the House floor, per tradition, on Tuesday, January 29. However, the government shutdown of December 22 through January 25 threw that tradition into chaos, as the address became something of a political hot potato between Trump and Pelosi.
Pelosi would say during the shutdown that the annual address was the least important thing Congress and Trump should be talking about, and considered it a non-issue. Citing security concerns – the Capitol Police, like all government workers, had been working at a reduced staff and without pay – Pelosi told Trump that delivering the speech from the floor of the House wouldn’t be an option.
In a letter, Pelosi asked Trump to consider other options for delivering the address. One was to deliver the speech to Congress in writing. Another was to give the address from the Oval Office, which would have required less security and less government money and would have been less of a public spectacle during the lean times of the shutdown. Trump rejected both of those options.
Once the shutdown ended, the topic came up again in Washington, but Pelosi didn’t act immediately to invite Trump to give the address.
Now that the State of the Union address is back on, it appears that it will likely be the scene of something of a quiet protest. As CNN reported, the House Democratic Women’s Working Group is inviting female members of both parties to wear white to the address. White was the color of the Suffragettes, the early pioneers for women’s right to vote in the U.S., and the color choice is a protest against what can be seen as the administration’s anti-women policies, says the Florida Representative Lois Frankel, the chair of the group.
“Wearing suffragette white is a respectful message of solidarity with women across the country, and a declaration that we will not go back on our hard-earned rights.”