January 18, 2019

PAUL BEDARD: Good company: 26 of 45 presidents didn’t give State of the Union speech.

Should President Trump comply with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s demand that he deliver a written instead of oral State of the Union address on Jan. 29, he would be on the right side of history.

According to the House Historian’s Office, 26 of 45 presidents have not given oral State of the Union addresses, though they have become common since the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt. That stretched from 1800-1913.

Former Presidents George Washington and John Adams gave the speeches, which are suggested in the Constitution.

But Thomas Jefferson cut off the practice, feeling it looked too much like the speech the British king gives.

Instead, he and subsequent presidents offered a written version. That was followed for every president until Woodrow Wilson.

Former President Herbert Hoover also skipped the speech in the House chamber.

So if Trump can kill off the State of the Union and congressional junkets in one week, he’s doing pretty well.

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