WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump should either delay his State of the Union address or submit it in writing, Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote Wednesday in a letter citing the security burdens that the annual address to a joint session of Congress would place on a partially shuttered federal government.
«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,» Pelosi wrote in the letter to Trump.
The White House did not immediately reply to NBC’s requests for comment.
Parts of the federal government, including some operations of the Homeland Security Department, have been closed down since Dec. 22, when the spending authority for several federal agencies lapsed amid an an impasse between Trump and Congress over his request for billions of dollars in funding for a border wall.
A State of the Union address has not been rescheduled since President Ronald Reagan chose to move his planned Jan. 28, 1986, speech when the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up that morning. Reagan instead addressed the nation from the Oval Office that night and postponed the State of the Union.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told NBC that the House is sending Trump a message that normal business won’t be conducted while large parts of the government remain closed. Pelosi’s letter was sent one day after a group of moderate Democrats boycotted Trump’s invitation to the White House for a lunch to discuss the border-wall fight at the heart of the shutdown, and it was unclear as of mid-morning Wednesday how many of a second group of Democratic lawmakers invited to the White House for an afternoon meeting on the same topic would show up.