President Trump Postpones State of the Union; Will Address Congress After Shutdown Ends

President Trump announced late Wednesday night he will not give the State of the Union Address at an alternate location and that he would wait to give the speech until the government reopens. Trump has been in a standoff with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) over the address since she decided to use the speech as a bargaining chip in the debate over government funding and funds for a border wall that has led to a month-long partial government shutdown.

At the beginning of January, Pelosi invited Trump to speak on January 29. She later suggested Trump postpone the speech due to security concerns over the shutdown. When those concerns were found to be not true, Pelosi still withheld final confirmation of the invitation. After a back and forth earlier on Wednesday that resulted in Pelosi postponing the speech indefinitely, Trump announced his intentions.

“As the Shutdown was going on, Nancy Pelosi asked me to give the State of the Union Address. 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!”


As Speaker of the House, Pelosi controls invitations to address the chamber. Pelosi’s move to postpone the State of the Union address for political reasons is unprecedented. Only once before was a State of the Union Address postponed. That was in 1986 when the Challenger space shuttle exploded on launch, killing the crew, the morning of the date President Reagan was to speak to Congress, January 28, 1986. His address was put off one week while the nation mourned.

Earlier Wednesday, Trump sent a letter to Pelosi announcing he planned to honor her invitation for January 29.

Trump’s letter forced Pelosi’s hand, prompting her to officially postpone Trump’s State of the Union Address to Congress. Pelosi informed Trump of her decision with a letter in reply Wednesday.


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