Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has suggested to President Donald Trump that his State of the Union address, scheduled for later this month, be delayed because of the partial government shutdown.
In a letter to the president, Pelosi proposed the delay because the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security, the agencies designated to provide security for the Jan. 29 event, and have not been funded for 26 days.
“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.
Read the letter here.
The second-ranking House Republican, Minority Whip Steve Scalise, tweeted that Pelosi’s move showed “Democrats are only interested in obstructing.”
Hours after Pelosi’s letter became public, there was no response from the White House, but Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen pushed back in a tweet against the implication that the shutdown has harmed the department’s ability to secure the event.
Trump’s first State of the Union address in 2018 was viewed by 45.6 million viewers, according to Nielsen, across broadcast and cable.
The last U.S. president to deliver a State of the Union address in writing was Jimmy Carter in 1981, though a written message conveyed to Congress was the historical norm in an era before broadcast radio or television.
Woodrow Wilson was the first president to deliver the State of the Union in person from the House chamber in 1913. In 1922, Warren G. Harding made history as the first to share live audio of the address on the radio, though it the broadcast was not widely distributed. A year later, Calvin Coolidge’s address was broadcast on the radio nationally. Harry Truman was first to deliver a televised address in 1947.
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