“In the spirit of respecting our Constitution, I invite you to deliver your State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 in the Chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives,” Pelosi wrote in a letter addressed to the president dated Friday, according to NPR.
“In their great wisdom, our Founders crafted a Constitution based on a system of separation of powers: three co-equal branches acting as checks on each other. To ensure that balance of powers, the Constitution calls for the president to ‘from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union.’”
Pelosi’s invitation comes two days after the House of Representatives took the historic step of voting to impeach Trump for allegedly abusing his power by pressing the Ukrainian government to investigate a political opponent, as well as for allegedly obstructing Congress as lawmakers’ investigated his actions.
The impeachment process has led to an escalation of partisan tensions on Capitol Hill. It remains unclear whether or not a Senate trial on the two articles of impeachment will have already taken place by the February 4 date.
Pelosi has not yet sent over the articles to the Senate for a trial, saying that Democrats want to know the parameters of a trial — such as whether or not there will be witnesses called — before appointing the lawmakers who will serve as impeachment managers, as The Inquisitr previously reported.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, and Democratic Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, of New York, did not reach a deal on a trial before leaving Thursday for the holidays.
The early February date would also place Trump’s address a day after the Iowa caucuses, where Democrats are battling for support as the first ballots are cast in the presidential primary.
There is a precedent for delivering the State of the Union in the midst of congressional impeachment proceedings. At the time of the impeachment trial for former President Bill Clinton, he delivered the address — less than two weeks after senators were sworn in for the trial.
This year, Trump’s State of the Union address attracted attention after it became a point of contention in negotiations related to the partial government shutdown, according to The New York Times.
In mid-January, Pelosi asked Trump to postpone the address or deliver it in writing, citing security concerns because the Capitol was not properly staffed. Trump retaliated by canceling Pelosi’s use of a military vehicle for an overseas trip. However, he eventually agreed to reschedule the speech after the shutdown had ended.