SOTU Standoff at Capitol Hill

Well, well. A few hours ago, Trump sent a letter to Nancy Pelosi informing her that he would be giving the State of the Union address in the House. Nancy Pelosi wrote back:

“I am writing to inform you that the House of Representatives will not consider a concurrent resolution authorizing the President’s State of the Union address in the House Chamber until government has opened,” Pelosi wrote to Trump. “Again, I look forward to welcoming you to the House on a mutually agreeable date for this address when government has been opened.” …

… The House and Senate must pass a concurrent resolution for a joint session of Congress to hear the president.

It’s not clear whether Trump understands he can’t just show up in the House and give a speech whenever he wants. Paul Waldman writes,

One imagines a dramatic scene as Trump arrives at the House and is told that the speaker is not granting him permission to deliver his address. What happens then? Will he push past everyone (though presumably only Republicans will have shown up), climb up on the dais and start talking? Among other things, Pelosi controls the microphones and the TV cameras, so there wouldn’t be much point.

I don’t see that he holds any cards in this game. He can always give the speech somewhere else and send a transcript to Congress to fulfill his constitutional obligation — indeed, he doesn’t have to give a speech at all — but he would be doing so with the whole nation understanding that a woman wouldn’t let him have the venue he wanted. What will he do?

Polls are saying, loudly and clearly, that the shutdown is unpopular and that the public blames Trump for it.  Things are getting interesting.

Share Button