Citing security concerns due to the government shutdown, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday asked President Trump to delay his State of the Union address to Congress or to submit it in writing.
In a letter to Trump, Pelosi said that the US Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security have not been funded for 26 days and were "hamstrung by furloughs."
"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," she wrote.
The president delivers the address at the invitation of the Speaker. Pelosi's office later noted that the speaker wasn't rescinding Trump's invitation, just suggesting a delay, according to Slate.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen responded to Pelosi's letter, tweeting that both her department and the Secret Service "are fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union."
The Trump administration on Tuesday called nearly 50,000 government employees back to work without pay to keep critical areas of government functioning during what has become the longest shutdown in US history.
The 26-day political crisis has been created by Trump, who said he won't reopen the government unless he gets money for a wall along the country's southern border.
Pelosi's move threatens to take away something Trump craves: a big, ceremonial address that is broadcast live on television networks.
Heated negotiations between Trump and congressional Democrats have failed, with Trump slamming Pelosi several times on Twitter.
"Why is Nancy Pelosi getting paid when people who are working are not?” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.
In an attempt to distance some moderate Democrats from Pelosi, Trump invited a handful of them to a White House lunch on Tuesday, but they declined the invite.
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