Trump Still Plans to Deliver State of the Union From House Chamber on Jan. 29

Trump Still Plans to Deliver State of the Union From House Chamber on Jan. 29

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday, indicating that he still plans on delivering a State of the Union address from the House chamber on Jan. 29, even though Pelosi suggested that it be delayed because of the government shutdown.

“I look forward to seeing you on the evening of January 29th in the Chamber of the House of Representatives,” Trump wrote. “It would be very sad for our country if the State of the Union were not delivered on time, on schedule, and very importantly, on location!”

The letter is essentially a dare to Pelosi to prevent him from delivering the State of the Union in the Chamber. He can only deliver the address from that venue unless the House and the Senate pass a resolution allowing it.

Last week, Pelosi sent a letter to Trump suggesting that the State of the Union be delayed, citing security reasons. Trump later canceled a trip that Pelosi was scheduled to take to Afghanistan along with other Democratic lawmakers. They were set to fly on a military aircraft to visit troops there.

In his letter, Trump noted that Pelosi already invited him to deliver the State of the Union, and he accepted.

“Even prior to your 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,” Trump said in the letter.

The president is constitutionally obligated to deliver a State of the Union, but there is no requirement on where such a speech is delivered — or that it be a speech at all. Before the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, the State of the Union was usually written.

Trump reportedly had considered other options — including delivering the address from the border. But the impact of the address is probably far greater in a venue that gathers lawmakers from both parties in a joint session of Congress. The State of the Union audience traditionally includes members of the Supreme Court, “average” Americans who are singled out as the president talks about a specific policy prescription, and just about all of the major media outlets.

There was no immediate comment from Pelosi’s office.

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