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Trump Delays State of the Union Speech Until After Shutdown Ends


President Donald Trump, center, at the during a healthcare roundtable in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019, in Washington.

U.S. President Donald Trump says he will delay giving his State of the Union address until after he and Congress resolve a partial government shutdown.

"I am not looking for an alternative venue for the SOTU Address because there is no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber," Trump tweeted late Wednesday. "I look forward to giving a 'great' State of the Union Address in the near future!"

White House officials earlier said plans were underway for the annual address to be made from a different location — including at a political rally —depending on whether the partial shutdown of the U.S. government persists.

The president is required to annually submit to Congress a report on the nation, but there is no requirement that it be an address before both the House and Senate.

By modern tradition, though, presidents have been invited to address a joint session of Congress inside the House chamber. The speech is also broadcast on national television.

A portion of a letter sent to President Donald Trump from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Jan. 16, 2019 in Washington, asking President Trump to postpone his State of the Union address to the nation, set for Jan. 29, until the government reopens.
A portion of a letter sent to President Donald Trump from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Jan. 16, 2019 in Washington, asking President Trump to postpone his State of the Union address to the nation, set for Jan. 29, until the government reopens.

​Due to the government shutdown that began December 22, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had urged Trump to postpone the address or give it to lawmakers in writing. She expressed security concerns, noting the U.S. Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security are part of the one-quarter of the U.S. government remaining unfunded.

Trump dismissed those concerns in a letter to Pelosi earlier Wednesday and said he looked forward to giving the speech as scheduled on January 29.

Pelosi sent her own letter making it clear she had no intention of changing her position.

"I am writing to inform you that the House of Representatives will not consider a concurrent resolution authorizing the President's State of the Union address in the House Chamber until the government has opened," Pelosi wrote.

She said that when she extended her original invitation on Jan. 3, she had "no thought that the government will still be shut down" on Jan. 29, and that she looked forward to welcoming Trump to the House after the government reopens.

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