WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump's State of the Union address (all times local):
US President Donald J. Trump, Photo Date: 6/15/2018 / Photo: The White House / MGN
President Donald Trump says he will do an "alternative" event since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has blocked him from giving his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress while the government remains partially shut down.
Trump at the White House Wednesday said the cancellation was a "disgrace." He did not detail his next move, saying: "We will be announcing what we're doing."
The California Democrat told Trump in a letter Wednesday the Democratic-controlled House won't pass the required measure for him to give the nationally televised speech from the House floor on Tuesday.
Trump said he was planning a "really important speech" and called Pelosi's move a "great blotch on the country that we all love." He argued Pelosi was blocking him because she doesn't want to hear "the truth" about border security.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is officially postponing President Donald Trump's State of the Union address until the government is fully reopened.
The California Democrat told Trump in a letter Wednesday the Democratic-controlled House won't pass the required measure for him to give the nationally televised speech from the House floor.
Pelosi acted just hours after Trump notified her that he was planning to deliver the speech next Tuesday in line with her original invitation.
Pelosi's moves have left the White House scrambling to devise an alternative plan for the speech, which is one of the president's top opportunities to lay out his agenda to the public.
Pelosi said "I look forward to welcoming you to the House on a mutually agreeable date for this address when government has been opened."
President Donald Trump says he is planning to deliver his State of the Union address next week in front of a joint session of Congress — despite House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's request that he delay.
Trump issued a letter to Pelosi on Wednesday. In it he dismisses her suggestion the speech should be postponed or delivered in writing due to security issues related to the partial government shutdown. Declaring there are "no security concerns," Trump says he will fulfill his "Constitutional duty."
Trump adds that it would be "so very sad" for the country if the address is not given as planned on Jan. 29.
Pelosi last week cited the impact of the ongoing shutdown on the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Secret Service. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the agencies were prepared to support the speech.
The White House is moving forward with plans for President Donald Trump to deliver his State of the Union speech next week in front of a joint session of Congress — despite a letter from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi requesting he delay it.
The White House sent an email to the House sergeant-at-arms asking to schedule a walk-through in anticipation of a Jan. 29 address, according to a White House official who was not authorized to discuss the planning by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.
"Nancy Pelosi made the invitation to the president on the State of the Union. He accepted," said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders. "At this point, we're moving forward."
The move is the latest in a game of political brinkmanship between Trump and the House speaker as they remain locked in an increasingly personal standoff over Trump's demand for border wall funding that has forced a partial government shutdown that is now in its second month.
The maneuvering began last week when Pelosi sent a letter to Trump suggesting that he either deliver the speech in writing or postpone it until after the partial government shutdown is resolved, citing security concerns. But the White House maintains Pelosi never formally rescinded her invitation, and is, in essence, calling her bluff.
"She has not canceled it. She asked us to postpone it," White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in an interview Tuesday with Fox News Channel.
"We have no announcement at this time," he said, "but Nancy Pelosi does not dictate to the president when he will or will not have a conversation with the American people."
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, said the address should be "in the House chamber as we have always done. This is not the time to play politics."
At the same time, the White House is continuing to work on contingency plans to give Trump a backup in case the joint-session plans fall through. The president cannot speak in front of a joint session of Congress without both chambers' explicit permission. A resolution needs to be agreed to by both chambers specifying the date and time for receiving an address from the president.
Officials have been considering a list of potential alternative venues, including a rally-style event, an Oval office address— as Pelosi previously suggested — a speech before the Senate chamber, and even a return visit to the U.S.-Mexico border as Trump is expected to continue to hammer the need for a barrier, according to two others familiar with the discussions.
Multiple versions are also being drafted to suit the final venue.
The Constitution states only that the president "shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union," meaning the president can speak anywhere he chooses or give his update in writing. But a joint address in the House chamber, in front of lawmakers from both parties, the Supreme Court justices and invited guests, provides the kind of grand backdrop that is hard to mimic and that this president, especially, enjoys.
Still, North Carolina's House Speaker Tim Moore wrote a letter inviting Trump to deliver the speech in the North Carolina House chamber. And Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield on Friday invited Trump to deliver the address at the state Capitol in Lansing instead.
Trump called Moore Monday evening, according to his office, and spoke by phone with Chatfield Tuesday morning, Chatfield tweeted.
"I understand you have other plans for #SOTU, but as we discussed, I look forward to hosting you in Michigan again soon," Chatfield wrote.
Pelosi in her letter had cited the impact of the ongoing shutdown on the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Secret Service, questioning whether they could secure the speech given that they have been operating without funding.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen responded by assuring that DHS and Secret Service were "fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union."
Asked about the letter by reporters Tuesday, Pelosi did not address the White House's decision, saying only: "We just want people to get paid for their work."
Senior White House staff had been in a morning huddle discussing the upcoming speech when news of Pelosi's letter first broke on TV. The power play — which Trump countered by revoking Pelosi's use of a military aircraft, thereby canceling a congressional delegation visit to Afghanistan — had put the status of the marquee speech in limbo, leaving staff scrambling to figure out how to proceed.
"We'll keep you posted," Sanders had told reporters when asked for a status update Friday.
In their standoff, Trump has also accused Pelosi of behaving "irrationally," while Pelosi has refused to negotiate with Trump on border funding until he agrees to reopen the government.
In a tweet Sunday, Trump wrote that he was "still thinking about the State of the Union speech" and that there were "so many options - including doing it as per your written offer (made during the Shutdown, security is no problem), and my written acceptance."
"While a contract is a contract," he wrote, "I'll get back to you soon!"
Associated Press writers Kevin Freking, Andrew Taylor, Catherine Lucey and Jonathan Lemire contributed to this report.