A lot has happened since President Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union address in January 2018, yet somehow I can't believe that it's almost time for round two... or is it? If you're wondering when is the 2019 State of the Union, well, all I can say is don't hold your breath, because it might be delayed. How fitting.
As of Wednesday, Jan. 16, the government still finds itself in the throes of a partial shutdown. Trump hasn't receive his asked-for $5 billion to fund his border security proposal — which includes a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico and so the government shutdown on Dec. 22. With seemingly no end in sight, Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has urged the president to postpone his State of the Union speech that is set to happen on Jan. 29, asking him to reevaluate giving an in-person speech given the security concerns and the trouble with security staffing during a shutdown.
With the government shut down approaching a fourth week, employees of the U.S. Secret Service as well as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have been furloughed or are being required to work without pay. With the president's State of the Union address looming, this poses a major problem for these departments tasked with handling matters of national security. With those concerns apparently in mind, on Wednesday Jan. 16 Pelosi wrote a letter to Trump asking that he delay his address "unless the government re-opens this week." She said they can find another date for it or that the president should "consider" handing in his address in writing to Congress on Jan. 29, as was the practice under previous presidents. Pelosi wrote,
The extraordinary demands presented by NSSEs [National Special Security Events] require weeks of detailed planning with dozens of agencies working together to prepare for the safety of all participants. ... 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.
Elite Daily reached out to the White House regarding whether the president will delay the address, but did not immediately hear back. The U.S. Secret Service referred questions to DHS, which did not immediately return Elite Daily's requests for comment.
Pelosi, as speaker of the House, was the one tasked with inviting Trump to deliver his State of the Union address, back on Jan. 3. But, she said, her Jan. 16 letter isn't a dis-invitation. Pelosi told reporters "no, no no," and that the urge to delay the address is only about security issues, according to CNBC. “He can make it from the Oval Office if he wants.”
Trump and Democrats are in a standstill over funding for his border security proposal. Pelosi and Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have met with Trump on several occasions to talk about re-opening the government, but the gridlock on the border wall has halted negotiations. On Jan. 9, Pelosi and Schumer met with Trump in the Situation Room, but the meeting ended with Trump storming out of the room, according to theTimes. During the meeting, Pelosi said she wouldn't provide any funding for the wall even if the shutdown ends which, according to Schumer, resulted in Trump "[slamming] the table" and throwing a "temper tantrum," according to The Hill. Outside the West Wing following the meeting, Schumer told reporters, "Again, we saw a temper tantrum because he couldn't get his way and he just walked out of the meeting." In a tweet, Trump denied the claims of a tantrum. Elite Daily reached out to the White House for comment on Schumer's claim, but did not hear back.
Regardless of how the Situation Room meeting went down, a Jan. 29 official State of the Union is not off the table just yet. There's still a possibility that the government is back up and running very soon — but I wouldn't hold my breath for that either.