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Pelosi invite or not, Trump plans to show up to Capitol on night of State of the Union



WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump informed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi he intends to go forward with the State of the Union address scheduled for this coming Tuesday, despite the political game of chicken between the two leaders as the partial government shutdown appears to have no end in sight.

In a letter to Pelosi Wednesday afternoon, Trump wrote that he will show up to the House chamber on January 29, adding that “it would be so very sad for our Country if the State of the Union were not delivered on time, on schedule, and very importantly, on location!”

Read more: Nancy Pelosi refused to allow White House officials access to the House floor for a State of the Union walkthrough

Trump also noted that security for the event is of no concern, despite Pelosi raising the issue in her initial letter calling for the speech’s postponement earlier this month.

But Trump might not be able to just show up and deliver the speech without Pelosi’s blessing. The State of the Union occurs during a joint session of Congress, which requires the consent of the speaker of the House to enter.

Further, as speaker, Pelosi has control over the recording studio in the House, meaning that she could have the cameras turned off inside the chamber. Because outside video cameras are not allowed into the chamber, there could be no broadcast of the event, if it were to even occur.

What could result on Tuesday is a chaotic fight in the Democratic-controlled House. As Trump looks to take the spotlight, the already tense atmosphere could become much worse.

Democrats are already unnerved after Trump canceled the military chartered flight for a bipartisan delegation traveling to Afghanistan. When the group attempted to fly commercially, the White House leaked the travel plans, creating a security risk that resulted in the trip’s cancelation, according to an aide to Pelosi (the White House denies this claim).

Pelosi has repeatedly called for postponing the address or having Trump submit it in writing, as was customary until President Woodrow Wilson delivered it in person in the early 20th century.

“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 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.”

Trump is mulling holding a State of the Union-style address outside of the Capitol

Republicans are split on what kind of options Trump has regarding the State of the Union.

Republican Rep. Mark Meadows told reporters the White House has discussed the possibility of holding the address at an alternative venue. ABC News reported that Trump could also do multiple speeches, including a campaign-style rally in its place, though this would not be under a joint session of Congress.

And House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters on Wednesday that his preferred route is Trump delivering the address in the House chamber and in line with tradition.

“I think any indication not to hold it in the chamber is wrong on the speaker’s behalf. I think the idea that you would ask the president to move in a time that we’ve watched in the past,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what crisis America had in the past — we were able to still have a State of the Union.”

“It didn’t matter that we were shut down that we could actually swear in Congress inside those chambers,” McCarthy added. “We should give the same respect to the office of the presidency instead of putting politics before the American public.”

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