President Donald Trump said late Wednesday he would postpone his State of the Union address until the partial government shutdown ends and that he was not looking for an alternative venue amid an ongoing stalemate with Democratic leaders.
“I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over,” the president said on Twitter, noting that he was “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 quickly moved to shift blame for the delayed event to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). She replied to the president’s missives with a tweet of her own shortly before midnight, saying she hoped “by saying ‘near future’ you mean you will support the House-passed package to #EndTheShutdown that the Senate will vote on tomorrow.”
“Please accept this proposal so we can re-open government, repay our federal workers and then negotiate our differences,” she concluded.
Pelosi had initially requested the president delay the address amid the ongoing shutdown, which has stretched into its second month. About 800,000 federal workers have been affected and are set to miss their second paychecks of the year on Friday.
The president immediately fired back at the suggestion, saying he would give his address as planned on Jan. 29. Pelosi issued her own rebuttal, saying she wouldn’t take the steps to authorize the address until the government was reopened.
“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 speaker wrote to Trump.
Trump appeared to capitulate to Pelosi’s tactics on Wednesday, saying it was her “prerogative” to suggest a later date.
The Senate is preparing to vote on two competing proposals to end the shutdown on Friday, one backed by Republicans and the other by Democrats. The GOP proposal would give Trump the $5.7 billion he’s demanded for a wall along the southern border, while the other plan would reopen the government through Feb. 8 without a wall but allow for negotiations to continue while federal employees get back to work.
Neither proposal is expected to get the 60 votes needed to advance, meaning the shutdown will likely drag on for at least another week.
Trump has continued to heap criticism on Democrats, telling reporters this week that the party had “become radicalized.” However, House Democrats said they’d be willing to up the budget for border security, possibly to the $5.7 billion level requested by the president, if the government could be reopened and those funds be used for measures other than a barrier.
This article has been updated to include a response from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.