state of the union address

Trump Blinks First in State of the Union Standoff With Nancy Pelosi

Trump will deliver the SOTU at a later date. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

The standoff over the State of the Union came to an anticlimactic conclusion Wednesday night when President Trump announced on Twitter that he will delay his speech to the nation until the partial government shutdown ends.

“As the Shutdown was going on, Nancy Pelosi asked me to give the State of the Union Address. I agreed. She then changed her mind because of the Shutdown, suggesting a later date. This is her prerogative — I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over,” Trump tweeted.

While it’s true that Pelosi invited Trump to deliver the address after the start of the shutdown, that invitation came on January 3, before it was clear that the shutdown would drag on for this long. She sent Trump another letter last week disinviting him, citing security concerns in the House during a shutdown.

On Wednesday, Trump sent a letter back to Pelosi saying that he would show up for the speech whether she liked it or not. “It would be so very sad for our country, if the State of the Union were not delivered on time, on schedule, and very importantly, on location!” he wrote.

CNN reports that the White House’s strategy was to call Pelosi’s bluff. It didn’t work.

Hours after his first, defiant letter, Trump capitulated. He also denied reports that he was exploring other venues for the speech. “I am not looking for an alternative venue for the SOTU Address because there is no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber. I look forward to giving a ‘great’ State of the Union Address in the near future!”

Pelosi responded, of course, tweeting: “Mr. President, I hope by saying ‘near future’ you mean you will support the House-passed package to #EndTheShutdown that the Senate will vote on tomorrow.” Pelosi continued on Twitter, “Please accept this proposal so we can re-open government, repay our federal workers and then negotiate our differences.”

Trump Blinks First in State of the Union Standoff