President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday night that he had changed his mind about having an "alternative" event instead of the State of the Union address, saying he will wait till the shutdown is over.
"As the Shutdown was going on, Nancy Pelosi asked me to give the State of the Union Address," Trump tweeted. "I agreed. She then changed her mind because of the Shutdown, suggesting a later date. This is her prerogative - I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over."
"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. I look forward to giving a 'great' State of the Union Address in the near future!" Trump continued.
During a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Trump stated: "We'll do something in the alternative, we'll be talking to you about that at a later date."
Trump's comments during the press conference came in response to the following letter he received from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:
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
Pelosi's letter came in response to a letter that she received from Trump an hour or so earlier in which the president indicated that he intended to go through with the State of the Union address as originally planned:
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
Trump's letter came in response to Pelosi's false suggestion that the State of the Union address should be delayed due to security concerns.
"In a letter to President Donald Trump, made public Wednesday morning, Pelosi admonished the president for planning to hold the annual address, claiming that a 'State of the Union Address has never been delivered during a government shutdown' since the inception of modern Congressional budgeting processes in 1977," The Daily Wire reported on January 16. "The Speaker of the House added that since the Secret Service is included in the government furlough, Congress lacks the security necessary to hold the event, even though critical staff members are still on the job, just not receiving paychecks."