President Donald Trump informed Speaker Nancy Pelosi he plans to deliver his second State of the Union address on Tuesday night at the Capitol.
He said in a letter there are no security concerns, which she had cited in asking him to consider delaying the event or delivering his remarks in writing.
Trump appeared to mock a letter Pelosi sent him last week requesting the delay or a hand-delivered address, noting in his letter that he already had accepted her “kind invitation” from several weeks back.
“Even prior to asking, I was contacted by the Department of Homeland Security and United States Secret Service to explain that there would be absolutely no problem regarding security with respect to the event,” the president told the speaker amid their shutdown feud. “They have since confirmed this publicly.”
“Accordingly, there are no security concerns regarding the State of the Union Address,” he wrote.
Pelosi said “Stay tuned” Wednesday to repeated questions about whether she intends to allow Trump to deliver his State of the Union address Tuesday from the House chamber.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway essentially dared Pelosi Wednesday to pull her invitation to Trump to deliver the address. Should the speaker do that, she will “have some explaining to do,” Conway told reporters.
Conway said the California Democrat “lied about the security concerns” cited in last week’s letter requesting President Trump delay his State of the Union address or deliver it in writing on Tuesday, Conway said.
In his letter Wednesday, Trump told Pelosi he will be at the Capitol on Tuesday night, “fulfilling my Constitutional duty, to deliver important information to the people and Congress of the United States of America regarding the State of our Union.”
After the two traded barbs and tried to frustrate the other for most of last week, Trump told Pelosi this: “I look forward to seeing you on the evening [of] January 29th in the Chamber of the House of Representatives.”
Ultimately Pelosi has final say on whether the House will host Trump for the State of the Union. She can choose not to bring up a concurrent resolution that both chambers must adopt in order to form a joint session of Congress to hear the address.
Before Trump’s letter, some Democrats seemed to suggest Pelosi will hold a hard line and not let Trump speak in the House chamber.
“Unless the government is reopened, it is highly unlikely the State of the Union is going to take place on the floor of the House of Representatives,” Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries told reporters Wednesday morning.
Much of the letter appeared to have been written by White House aides, but the final sentence had the same unique phrasing the president uses in his tweets and public remarks.
“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,” the letter said.
On Wednesday, a White House spokesman signaled Trump would carry on with a Capitol address, saying a speaker of the House cannot dictate when and were any president addresses the country.
House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said earlier Wednesday the decision on whether the State of the Union would be held Tuesday in the House chamber will be made between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump.
Pelosi “didn’t disinvite him; she suggested another date,” Hoyer said, noting the president has not sent the speaker a response. “We’ll see what’s going to happen.”
The Sergeant at Arms and Capitol Police will be prepared to provide security should the event go forward, he said.
As for a concurrent resolution that would need to be adopted to host a joint session, Hoyer suggested there is no urgency to do that.
“That can be passed Tuesday the 29th,” he said.