Pelosi tells Trump; No state of union speech until govt reopens

The US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday said that she would not host US President Donald Trump to deliver a state of union speech before government reopens, all but rejecting Trump’s intent to deliver the speech on January 29.

“I am writing to inform you that the House of Representatives will not consider a concurrent resolution authorising the president’s state of the union address in the House chamber until the government has opened,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi said when she extended the invitation on January 3 for Trump to deliver the speech, “there was no thought that the government would still be shut down” on January 29, reports Xinhua news agency.

The partial government shutdown, triggered by a partisan impasse over Trump’s demand for funding of a border wall, now stretched to the 33rd day.

Pelosi’s letter came in response to Trump’s letter earlier on the day announcing his intent to deliver the speech in front of a joint session of Congress in the chamber of the House on January 29.

Pelosi on January 16 asked Trump to consider postponing the speech due to the government shutdown, which has left 800,000 federal workers on furlough or working without pay.

Trump said the Department of Homeland Security assured him that there will not be any security risks due to the government shutdown, as suggested by Pelosi.

Trump told the press after seeing Pelosi’s response that he was “not surprised.” “It’s really a shame what’s happening with the Democrats. They’ve become radicalized.”

The back and forth casts a shadow on the prospects that Trump and congressional Democrats will strike a deal in the near future to reopen the government.

The state of the union speech is an annual ritual by US presidents to announce their policy goals for the coming year. It is traditionally delivered in the chamber of the House of Representatives to a joint session of Congress at the end of January, and is broadcast to the nation.

IANS