State of the Union: White House moves forward with plans for speech next week

Update Jan. 28, 2019: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has again invited President Donald Trump to deliver a State of the Union speech on Tuesday Feb. 5. Trump has accepted the invitation.

Update 9:30 a.m. ET Jan. 24, 2019: After receiving a letter from  Pelosi saying she is canceling his invitation to speak at the House of Representatives on Jan. 29, Trump announced he would give the State of the Union address after the government shutdown ends.

Update 12:30 p.m. ET Jan. 23, 2019: Trump has sent a letter to Pelosi saying that he is accepting her invitation to deliver the State of the Union Speech on Tuesday, Jan. 29. Pelosi, as of midday Wednesday, has not responded to Trump's letter.

Original story: President Donald Trump plans to move forward with a State of the Union address next week at the nation's Capitol.

Unless it’s somewhere else.

Several media outlets are reporting that Trump is ready to disregard House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s request last week that he delay the annual speech because of the government shutdown.

>> Government shutdown: Pelosi asks Trump to postpone State of the Union address 

NPR is reporting that plans are moving forward for Trump to give the address before a joint session of Congress next Tuesday, as was originally scheduled.

On Sunday, the White House sent a letter to the House sergeant-at-Aarms requesting a walk-through of the House in advance of the speech. Pelosi denied the request for a walk-through last week as she asked Trump to reschedule his speech until the government is reopened.

Trump jumped into the tug-a-war this Sunday via Twitter, telling Pelosi he has options on when and where to give the speech but reminded her she had extended an invitation and he had accepted it.

"Nancy, I am still thinking about the State of the Union speech, there are so many options - including doing it as per your written offer (made during the Shutdown, security is no problem), and my written acceptance. While a contract is a contract, I'll get back to you soon!"

>> State of the Union 2019: What day, what time, who will be there?

Can Pelosi disinvite Trump? Yes, in a way. The invitation to address a joint session of Congress is technically a House resolution that sets aside a day and time for the president to come to the Capitol and address a joint session of Congress.

A joint session of Congress means both the members of the House of Representatives and the members of the Senate are together in one chamber to hear a speaker.

Because the speech involves a joint session, both the House and the Senate must pass resolutions to OK the joint session.

The passing of the resolutions, in essence, constitutes an invitation from both the speaker of the House and the Senate majority leader for the president to appear before both chambers of Congress.

So far, neither the House nor the Senate has passed such a resolution that invites the president to give the State of the Union address on Jan. 29.

Pelosi controls when a vote comes to the House floor. Pelosi could hold back the vote on the resolution to create a day and time for the president to speak, and prevent him from addressing House members.

Can Pelosi keep the president from coming to the House next Tuesday? No, while there are restrictions on who can walk on the floor, the restrictions don’t apply to the president of the United States. However, who can speak from the floor is a different matter.

While the president can speak from the floor of the House, he could not speak from the dais in the House unless a session is called to order. The speaker is the person who calls the chamber to order. The president could be removed from the House floor if he were to begin speaking without Pelosi calling the session in order.

According to some media sources, the White House is considering moving the speech outside of Washington, D.C., perhaps to somewhere along the southern border.

The Washington Post is reporting that Trump has prepared two State of the Union speeches. One would be for a traditional delivery in the House to a joint session of Congress. The other would be for a location outside of Washington in a more political rally-type gathering.

Credit: J. Scott Applewhite

Credit: J. Scott Applewhite

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