Donald Trump says he won't deliver the State of the Union address until the government shutdown is over after all. He made the announcement after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blocked him from making the speech in Congress.
US President Donald Trump said late Wednesday he would wait until the partial government shutdown has ended before delivering his State of the Union address following a standoff with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Traditionally, the president's annual speech is made before a joint session of Congress in the ornate chamber of the House of Representatives. But Pelosi told Trump the Democrat-controlled House would not authorize the address in the chamber until the government had reopened.
The shutdown, which began over a month ago, has affected around 800,000 federal workers and brought many government services to a halt.
Pelosi had earlier appealed to Trump to hold off on giving the speech, citing shutdown-related security concerns. When the White House insisted the president would stick to the January 29 date, Pelosi informed him the move would not be approved.
"Again, I look forward to welcoming you to the House on a mutually agreeable date for this address when government has been opened," Pelosi said to Trump in a letter.
In a pair of tweets, Trump said he would not look for an alternative venue "because there is no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber."
He also said he looked forward to "giving a 'great' State of the Union Address in the near future!"
Pelosi responded by urging Trump to "support the House-passed package to #EndTheShutdown...so we can re-open government."
Trump triggered the shutdown last month by demanding $5.7 billion (€5 billion) for a wall on Mexico's border as part of any legislation to fund about a quarter of the government.
The Republican-controlled Senate is due to hold two votes on Thursday on competing proposals to end the shutdown, but neither option is expected to reach the 60-vote threshold. The proposal from the Democrats would fund the government until February 8 but not include funding for a border wall. The offer from the Republicans would give Trump money for the wall and grant a temporary extension of protections for so-called Dreamers — those who came illegally to the US as children.
nm/rt (AFP, AP)