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Pelosi to Trump: You Can Just Give Us the State of the Union Address in Writing

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) holds her weekly press conference in the Capitol on Jan. 10, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) suggested to President Trump that he either deliver a written version of his planned State of the Union address to Congress or postpone it because of the government shutdown.

The speaker traditionally invites the president to come make the annual address before a joint session each January, starting with a year after inauguration.

Pelosi invited Trump to address lawmakers on Jan. 3, the first day of the 116th Congress, with the State of the Union date set on Jan. 29.

With no end in sight to the shutdown that began at midnight Dec. 22 over an impasse on border wall funding, Pelosi sent a letter to Trump today noting that “during the 19th Century and up until the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, these annual State of the Union messages were delivered to Congress in writing,” and “since the start of modern budgeting in Fiscal Year 1977, a State of the Union address has never been delivered during a government shutdown.”

The State of the Union was also designated by the Department of Homeland Security last September as one of the National Special Security Events that requires “the full resources of the federal government to be brought to bear.”

“The extraordinary demands presented by NSSEs require weeks of detailed planning with dozens of agencies working together to prepare for the safety of all participants,” Pelosi wrote, noting that “both the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security have not been funded for 26 days now – with critical departments hamstrung by furloughs.”

“Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th,” she said.

Trump had not yet responded to Pelosi’s request, but tweeted earlier this morning, “It is becoming more and more obvious that the Radical Democrats are a Party of open borders and crime. They want nothing to do with the major Humanitarian Crisis on our Southern Border. #2020!”