Pelosi holds firm on delaying State of the Union until government reopens
The speaker, asked if she thinks a steel slat fence is the same as a wall, said ”Isn't it all in the president's mind?”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday held firm in her position that the partial government shutdown be ended before business as usual is resumed, including the State of the Union.
Pelosi said she has not heard from President Donald Trump regarding her request to delay the State of the Union. She said the administration has been “very silent over the last 24 hours.”
As to how she would react if Trump insisted on delivering the address to Congress on Jan. 29, Pelosi said, “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
After the press conference ended, a group of reporters followed Pelosi. One asked if she thinks a steel slat fence is the same as a wall.
What if Trump disagrees with SOTU delay? Pelosi: ‘We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it’
“Isn’t it all in the president’s mind? The president’s mind is what this is about,” Pelosi said.
Pushed on what she thinks, Pelosi said, “It doesn’t matter.” The question, she said, is whether Trump “will be able to open up government so we can have a discussion.”
Watch: Ocasio-Cortez decries shutdown as ‘erosion of American democracy’ in first floor speech
During the conference, Pelosi explained her decision requesting the State of the Union be delayed until after the government is reopened, the speaker reiterated her concerns about security and noted that there is no special need to hold the address next week.
“The date of the State of the Union is not a sacred date,” she said. “It’s not in the Constitution. It’s not the president’s birthday. It’s not anything.”
The address is scheduled for a mutually agreeable date, she added, with the implication that it is no longer agreeable for her.
“No, I’m not denying him a platform at all. I’m saying let’s get a date when the government is open,” Pelosi said of her position.
Trump thinks it is OK to not pay employees for their work, she said.
“I don’t, and my caucus doesn’t either,” she said. “It isn’t a question of whether they are a professional or not. It’s a question of whether they should be paid.”
The Secret Service, tasked with protecting the president and his family, is among the federal workforce required to come to work but not being paid, because of the lapse in appropriations.
She called the last meeting in which Trump walked out after she denied his request for a wall “a set up.” And she pushed back against assertions that Democrats aren’t interested in negotiating.
“We are negotiating and we do go to the meetings,” Pelosi said when a reporter asked why she doesn’t feel the need to return to the negotiating table.
Pelosi also pushed back on GOP attacks over a comment she made, joking that she’d give Trump $1 for the wall.
“That’s a silly comment on the part of Republicans,” Pelosi said. She noted that she didn’t bring the comment up on her own, but was asked by a reporter if she’d give Trump even $1 for the wall.
“That’s not the point, and they know that’s not the point,” Pelosi said. “So let’s not glorify a silly question.”