Pelosi Pushes Trump To Put Off State Of The Union Amid Shutdown
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has disinvited President Trump from delivering the annual State of the Union address while the government is shut down, citing security problems — though the department of Homeland Security shot down her reasons for calling it off.
Pelosi asked Trump to postpone the planned Jan. 29 State of the Union speech, saying that with both the Secret Service and the Homeland Security Department entangled in the shutdown, the president should speak to Congress another time or he should deliver the address in writing.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen denied anyone’s safety is compromised, saying both agencies “are fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union.”
Several Bay State pols sided with the House’s top Democrat, citing political reasons rather than security ones.
U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley tweeted, “The state of our Union is that the occupant of the @WhiteHouse continues to act callously, manufacture crises and hurt hardworking people. Do your job and open the government. Then we’ll let you make your little speech.”
U.S. Sen. Edward Markey said in a statement, “President Trump has no grounds to address the American people and declare that the state of the union is strong when 800,000 federal government workers are going without pay. Instead of writing a State of the Union address, President Trump should focus his attention on ending the government shutdown.”
U.S. Rep. James McGovern said in a congressional hearing Wednesday night, “This is not a time for business as usual — we reopen the government, everything goes back to normal.”
GOP strategist Ford O’Connell said, “This is bare-knuckle partisan politics, period. Pelosi does not want to give Trump a platform to lay out his case for border security.”
The Constitution requires that a president periodically give a report on the state of the union to Congress, but it doesn’t go into much detail as to how. George Washington and John Adams, the country’s first two presidents, delivered it in person, but Thomas Jefferson gave it in writing only, and over the next century, other presidents followed suit. Woodrow Wilson brought the in-person delivery back in 1913 as a tactic to try to get his fiscal policy passed. Since then, presidents have built on that, using the platform in increasingly showy and often effective ways to state their political cases to the country, said Boston University professor and presidential historian Thomas Whalen.
“Trump is not going to get that stage now,” Whalen said, praising Pelosi’s tactics. “This is the perfect counter. It’s political jiu jitsu — using the opponents’ moves against them.”
Herald wire services contributed to this report. ___
This article is written by Sean Philip Cotter from Boston Herald and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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