President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday, in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's decision to block him from giving his State of the Union speech, that he will be holding an "alternative" event instead.
"So Nancy Pelosi, knowing these facts and knowing this is something that she can't win, that she just went out and said 'let's cancel,' for the first time in the history of our country, 'let's cancel the State of the Union address,' and it's a disgrace," Trump said. "Just so you know, she uses on the basis of the shutdown, but when she asked me to make the address, formally in writing ... when she asked me to make the address, she did it during the shutdown, well into the shutdown by a couple of weeks."
"She also knew, because she went to our people and she asked 'would it be a security problem?'" Trump continued. "She knew it wasn't a security problem, she blamed security, but she knew it wasn't a security problem."
"I just got back from Iraq," Trump added. "I was very safe in Iraq and I felt very safe. We had great, great security. If we can handle Iraq, we can handle the middle of Washington."
"We'll do something in the alternative, we'll be talking to you about that at a later date," Trump told reporters.
"The State of the Union speech has been cancelled by Nancy Pelosi because she doesn’t want to hear the truth," Trump said. "She doesn't want the American public to hear what's going on."
"I don't believe it's ever happened before," Trump continued. "It's always good to be part of history, but this is a very negative part of history. This is where people are afraid to open up and say what's going on."
Trump's comments come after he sent the following letter to Pelosi:
Dear Madam Speaker:
Thank you for your letter of January 3, 2019, sent to me long after the Shutdown began, inviting me to address the Nation on January 29th as to the State of the Union. As you know, I had already accepted your kind invitation, however, I then received another letter from you dated January 16, 2019, wherein you expressed concerns regarding security during the State of the Union Address due to the Shutdown. Even prior to asking, I was contacted by the Department of Homeland Security and the United States Secret Service to explain that there would be absolutely no problem regarding security with respect to the event. They have since confirmed this publicly.
Accordingly, there are no security concerns regarding the State of the Union Address. Therefore, I will be honoring your invitation, and fulfilling my Constitutional duty, to deliver important information to the people and Congress of the United States of America regarding the State of our Union.
I look forward to seeing you on the evening on January 29th in the Chamber of the House of Representatives. It would be so very sad for our Country if the State of the Union were not delivered on time, on schedule, and very importantly, on location!
Donald J. Trump
Pelosi responded with the following letter to Trump:
Dear Mr. President:
When I extended an invitation on January 3rd for you to deliver the State of the Union address, it was on the mutually agreed upon date, January 29th. At that time, there was no thought that the government would still be shut down.
In my further correspondence of January 16th, I said we should work together to find a mutually agreeable date when government has re-opened and I hope that we can still do that.
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 government has opened.
Again, I look forward to welcoming you to the House on a mutually agreeable date for this address when government has been opened.
Speaker of the House