Trump declares State of the Union 'canceled'

Speaker Nancy Pelosi D-Calif. leaves a meeting of the House Democratic Caucus in the Capitol on Jan. 23 2019. After receiving a letter from President Trump saying he was going to deliver the State of the Union address on schedule Speaker Pelosi sent

Alternative plans are also underway for the annual address to be made from a different location - including at a political rally - depending on whether the partial shutdown of the USA government persists, add White House officials.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi informed President Trump in a letter Wednesday she will not permit him to deliver the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress until the government reopens.

As the leader of the Democrat-controlled House, where the pomp-filled occasion takes places in front of members of both chambers of Congress, Pelosi has the procedural right to call on the president to speak, or to choose when the session adjourns, meaning that the event could not take place there without her consent.

Last week, the House speaker sent a letter to Trump, requesting he postpone the State of the Union, citing security concerns related to the impact of the budget impasse on the Homeland Security Department. "She seems unreasonable, she seems to have a dislike for the president that is hurting the country and this idea of not letting the president speak is really overplaying your hands", he said.

North Carolina's House speaker, Tim Moore, invited Trump to deliver the speech in the North Carolina House chamber.

While underscoring that Pelosi has not formally canceled the event, Gidley said Tuesday that "there are many ways he can deliver the State of the Union".

"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", Trump tweeted late Wednesday.

Even as the two leaders sent each other letters dripping with barely veiled disgust, they did not plan to meet face-to-face and haven't spoken directly in weeks.




"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!"

Earlier on Wednesday, Trump told Pelosi that he meant to "honour the invitation" and deliver the speech on Jan 29 as planned, only to be rejected by Pelosi, several hours later.

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.

But there is no precedent for a State of the Union invitation being rescinded. Pelosi has yet to do so, although neither the House nor the Senate have passed a required resolution that would allow the House chamber to be used for the speech.

Polls show most Americans blame Trump for the shutdown, and say border wall funding isn't worth closing down parts of the government. "At this point, we're moving forward".

In a tweet Sunday, Trump wrote that he was "still thinking about the State of the Union speech" and that there were "so many options - including doing it as per your written offer (made during the Shutdown, security is no problem), and my written acceptance".

The speech is also expected to include other topic areas, such as the economy and foreign policy, that might be harder to include in a speech in a political venue.

Some officials believe a rally would just be seen as another campaign speech, which they acknowledge people have started to tune out.

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