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Nancy Pelosi refuses State of the Union ‘walkthrough’ during government shutdown

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is still trying to move forward with delivering his annual State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on January 29, despite barriers put in place by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who now controls the House chamber.

Under Pelosi’s directive, a previous walkthrough for White House officials was canceled last week in preparation for the State of the Union.

Read more: Pelosi backtracks on the reasoning for her letter asking Trump to delay State of the Union

Fox News first reported the canceled walkthrough and the White House’s written letter to the Sergeant at Arms on Tuesday requesting another chance to survey the House chamber. ABC News reported Tuesday morning the White House is planning to move ahead with an address outside of Washington, as well as another formal State of the Union at some point.

Ultimately, whether or not the State of the Union goes on as scheduled is up to Pelosi, not Trump.

Pelosi initially called for postponing the address amid the shutdown due to security reasons. When the Department of Homeland Security assured the public they would be able to properly secure the venue, Pelosi changed her reasoning to reflect that security personnel deserve to be paid during a State of the Union address, for which the only remedy is an end to the shutdown.

The move prompted Trump to cancel the military charter for a bipartisan congressional delegation to Afghanistan that included a stop in Brussels. The cancellation came just as the delegation had boarded a bus to take them on the trip, after which a wild goose chase around the Capitol grounds ensued.

Democrats also planned to go forward with the trip abroad by flying commercially, which a senior Pelosi aide suggested the White House leaked to the public on purpose. A senior White House official called the accusation they leaked the commercial flight details a “flat-out lie.”

The back and forth, in which Pelosi and Trump are repeatedly stepping on each other’s plans, suggests the State of the Union will likely not go on as planned next Tuesday, as much as the White House wants it to.

“The date of the State of the Union is not a sacred date, it’s not constitutionally required, it’s not the president’s birthday, it’s not anything,” Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol last week. “It is a date that we agreed to. It could’ve been a week later — and it could be the week later if government is open.”

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