- WIN MCNAMEE/AFP/Getty Images
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has suggested President Trump postpone his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress, citing the government shutdown.
- Pelosi also suggested Trump instead submit the address in writing, as presidents have done for most of United States history.
- The State of the Union is currently scheduled for January 29.
WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Wednesday suggesting the annual State of the Union address be postponed or that he submit it in writing, citing security concerns stemming from the government shutdown.
“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,” Pelosi wrote in the letter.
Pelosi informed members of the Democratic caucus of the move during their closed door meeting Wednesday morning. In the letter, she noted that the US Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security lack the appropriate funding to carry out their duties.
“The U.S. Secret Service was designated as the lead federal agency responsible for coordinating, planning, exercising, and implementing security for National Special Security Events by Public Law 106-544, December 19, 2000,” Pelosi wrote. “However, 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.”
The address, currently scheduled for January 29, would be the first of its kind to occur during a government shutdown.
If Trump were to submit the address in writing, it would hardly be unprecedented, as all presidents had delivered their State of the Union addresses in writing until President Woodrow Wilson made his address to Congress in 1913. Prior to that, President John Adams had been the last president to deliver his State of the Union out loud rather than merely in writing, in 1800.