Trump backs Pelosi into another corner; answers SOTU ‘concern’ letter with a letter of his own

In a “High Noon”-worthy showdown, President Donald Trump has called Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s State of the Union bluff, putting the San Francisco Democrat in a very awkward position.

In a move that pits one half of the Legislative branch of the U.S. government against the Executive branch, Pelosi urged Trump to postpone the annual address as long as the government is shut down, citing security concerns.

The president officially answered Pelosi on Wednesday in a letter that said he has been assured by the Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security there are “no security concerns regarding the State of the Union address.”

“Therefore, I will be honoring your invitation, and fulfilling my Constitutional duty,” to deliver important information to the American people and the Congress of the United States of America regarding the State of our Union,” Trump said in the letter.

“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!” the president closed with.

The move puts the onus squarely on Pelosi’s shoulders to have to publicly deny the President of the United States access to the House of Representatives to deliver the traditional address.

Not that Democrats aren’t petty enough to do just that.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., the head of the Democratic Caucus who called Trump “the Grand Wizard of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue” during a speech Monday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day, indicated that they are.

“It’s absolutely not clear … what his present intention is,” Jeffries told reporters in the Capitol. “But I can say that unless the government is reopened, it’s highly unlikely that the State of the Union is going to take place on the floor of the United States House of Representatives.”

Either way, the White House is reported to be considering an alternative plan for delivering the annual speech.

According to CNN reporter Phil Mattingly, Pelosi is still in the driver’s seat.

“As a reminder it takes a joint resolution of Congress to green light the State of the Union, and neither chamber has passed one yet. And @SpeakerPelosi decides what the House takes up,” he tweeted.

CNN’s Manu Raju added that while Pelosi has yet to offer an official response, she has indicated to her caucus that there will be no SOTU.

“Pelosi suggested to her members this morning not to invite their families to Washington next week, a sign she had no plans to let the State of the Union take place in the House. She has yet to officially say the SOTU is off,” he tweeted.

As for alternative venues, Trump has been urged by some to hold the annual address on the southern border, where the humanitarian crisis the Democratic Party refuses to acknowledge is taking place.

There have also been suggestions to hold the SOTU at the White House and invite “Angel Parents” — mothers and fathers of US citizens killed by illegal immigrants.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., took to Twitter to suggest the president hold the  address in the upper chamber of Congress.

“Senator McConnell is in charge of the Senate. If Mrs. Pelosi refuses to allow the president to deliver the State of the Union in the House, I propose we move it to the Senate and make it happen!” he tweeted.

Tom Tillison

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