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Trump abandons plans to give State of the Union in the House, says he will look for another site

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Trump abandons plans to give State of the Union in the House, says he will look for another site


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President Donald Trump says Nancy Pelosi cancelling the State of the Union address is a “disgrace.” He also added that he’s looking for an alternative location.
USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump has abandoned his push to deliver the State of the Union address in the House chamber next week and says he will look for another location.

“We’ll do something in the alternative,” he told reporters Wednesday. 

He said it’s “sad” he won’t be making the speech in the “beautiful” Capitol building.

Trump’s decision to scout out an alternative site for the speech followed another round of salvos between him and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the annual address.

“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 government has opened,” the California Democrat wrote Wednesday in a letter to Trump. 

Earlier in the day, Trump had written Pelosi a letter saying he wanted to give the speech in the Capitol Tuesday, brushing aside her concerns about security and the government shutdown.

“There are no security concerns regarding the State of the Union address,” Trump wrote. “Therefore, I will be honoring your invitation and fulfilling my constitutional duty to deliver important information to the people and Congress.”

He added: “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!”

At the White House, upon being told that Pelosi had rejected his request, Trump replied: “I’m not surprised. It’s really a shame what’s happening with the Democrats. They’ve become radicalized.They don’t want to see crime stop, which we can very easily do on the Southern border. … This will go on for a while.”

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi defended her suggestion to postpone the president’s State of the Union address as long as the partial government shutdown continues. (Jan. 17)
AP

Last month, Pelosi invited Trump to give the annual address on Jan. 29. For that to happen, however, the House would have to pass a resolution formally setting the date and time of the address. Pelosi has not asked the House to consider such a resolution.

Last week, she suggested that Trump postpone, cancel or submit the address in writing because of the ongoing partial government shutdown, though she had not formally rescinded the invitation.

The White House said it was moving forward with speech plans anyway and was looking at alternatives in case Pelosi formally canceled her invitation.

“The president will talk to the American people on January 29th as he does nearly every single day,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said on Fox News Wednesday. “And we’re going to continue moving forward with the State of the Union and we’ll see what happens.”

Though he had been planning to speak in the House chamber – the administration has requested a formal security walk-through before the ceremony – Trump and aides have explored alternative venues, including cities around the country.

Republican officials in Michigan and North Carolina have invited Trump to give his speech in their states.

Meanwhile, a handful of House Republicans, led by Indiana Rep. Jim Banks, have urged Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to invite Trump to deliver the address from the Senate.

“In the spirit of the Constitution, and for the good of the Republic, we must not allow partisan politics to disrupt time honored Constitutional traditions,” they wrote in a letter.

Their letter, sent last week, also said House Democrats should be at the bottom of the priority for getting seats in the smaller Senate chambers, if Trump does choose that venue.

Banks had not received a response to the letter as of Wednesday.

The White House itself is another option.

“We always like to have a Plan B, but the president should be able to address the American people,” Sanders told Fox, “whether he does that from the halls of Congress or whether he does that in another location.”

Contributing: John Fritze, Maureen Groppe

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