Pelosi tells Trump she won’t let him deliver State of the Union from House chamber

Posted at 2:33 PM, Jan 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-23 17:38:51-05

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. That means Mr. Trump will not be giving the annual address in the House chamber on Tuesday.

Pelosi told Mr. Trump she won’t allow a concurrent resolution authorizing his address to come to the floor, after Mr. Trump told her he planned to speak next week as originally invited. Pelosi asked the president to delay his annual address last week.

“I am writing to inform you that the House of Representatives will not consider a concurrent resolution authorizing the president’s State of the Union address in the House chamber until the government has opened,” Pelosi wrote to the president Wednesday. “Again, I look forward to welcoming you to the House on a mutually agreeable date for this address when government has been opened.”

It’s unclear where Mr. Trump will give his address now, although the White House insists one is still happening. Asked where he will give the speech now, the president told reporters in the Roosevelt Room, “We’ll see, we’ll see.”

Only hours earlier Wednesday, Mr. Trump had written to Pelosi saying, “I look forward to seeing you on the evening on Jan. 29 in the Chamber of the House of Representatives. 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!”

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders had said earlier that, whether Pelosi permits Mr. Trump to give the speech from the chamber or not, the president will deliver an address to the people on Jan. 29.

“We always like to have a Plan B but the president should be able to address the American people, whether he does that from the halls of Congress or whether he does that in another location,” Sanders told Fox News Wednesday morning. “The president will talk to the American people on January 29th as he does nearly every single day. And we’re going to continue moving forward with the State of the Union and we’ll see what happens.”

Pelosi had cited the ongoing government shutdown in her letter, asking Mr. Trump to delay the State of the Union or give it in writing, noting the Secret Service and other Homeland Security employees who would be working the event without pay. DHS told CBS News it is still prepared to provide protection for the major address.

“She cited security concerns as a potential reason to delay it,” Sanders told reporters outside the White House Tuesday night. “Those concerns were addressed by the Department of Homeland Security and the United States Secret Service. At this point, we’re moving forward.”

The White House has asked the House sergeant-at-arms for a State-of-the-Union walk-through, a senior administration official told CBS News. A source familiar with the planning for any such address told CBS News the White House had also been considering holding a political rally outside of Washington.

But no plans are finalized, with Jan. 29 less than a week away.