Trump Caves, Pelosi Responds on State of the Union Address

Donald Trump tweeted late Wednesday night that he would wait to deliver his State of the Union address until after he has re-opened the government, in a total capitulation on the issue to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

“As the Shutdown was going on, Nancy Pelosi asked me to give the State of the Union Address,” Trump wrote in a tweet. “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, in a subsequent tweet, expanded on earlier statements suggesting he may do an “alternative” State of the Union, writing that he was not seeking another venue 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!” he added.

Trump’s move to agree to the delay of the annual address to Congress ended a day of tense feuding between the president and Pelosi over the government shutdown, which entered its 34th day on Thursday.

Pelosi earlier Wednesday said she would block Trump from delivering the State of the Union in the House chamber until the government reopens. The president was originally scheduled to deliver the speech on Jan. 29 but the Speaker decided that would not be appropriate given the fact that crucial parts of the U.S. government are closed.

In a letter to Trump, the Speaker said she would not take the  steps needed for the address to take place, adding that she would invite the president to deliver his speech “on a mutually agreeable date” but only “when government has been opened.”

Pelosi’s letter came shortly after Trump informed her in his own letter that he planned to move ahead with his speech and deliver it at the Capitol on the 29th, despite her position.

“Nancy Pelosi – or Nancy, as I call her – she doesn’t want to hear the truth,” Trump told reporters at the White House, calling Pelosi’s decision “a great, great horrible mark” for the country.

“I don’t believe it’s ever happened before. And it’s always good to be a part of history but this is a very negative part of history,” he said.

After Trump tweeted that he was giving in to Pelosi, the Speaker tweeted her own response shortly before midnight.

“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. Please accept this proposal so we can re-open government, repay our federal workers and then negotiate our differences.”

This is a huge win for Nancy Pelosi. It proves that her strategy — not budging an inch on Trump’s demands — is working. She knows how to deal with Trump, probably better than anyone else in the U.S. government.

Trump lost his battle over the speech, and he is going to lose the battle over the shutdown also, because he is trying to play a losing hand, and Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Democrats know it.