Trump defies Pelosi and moves ahead with State of the Union address

President Trump says that he will give his State of the Union address as planned next Tuesday, despite a request from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that he delay the annual speech until the end of the partial government shutdown that is nearing the end of its fifth week.

Trump told Pelosi in a Wednesday afternoon letter that he would not postpone the event. He will be giving the speech in the House of Representatives as planned, he said. 

Pelosi invited him on January 3 to deliver the speech on January 29. She later backtracked, claiming Secret Service security in the House chamber would be subpar during a government shutdown. 

Trump insisted Wednesday that Pelosi’s objections were misplaced, writing that ‘there are no security concerns.’

‘It would be so very sad for our Country if the State of the Union weren’t delivered on time, on schedule, and very importantly, on location!’ he wrote. 

President Trump says he will give his State of the Union address as planned next Tuesday, despite a request from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that he delay the constitutionally mandated update until the end of the government shutdown

President Trump says he will give his State of the Union address as planned next Tuesday, despite a request from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that he delay the constitutionally mandated update until the end of the government shutdown

President Trump says he will give his State of the Union address as planned next Tuesday, despite a request from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that he delay the constitutionally mandated update until the end of the government shutdown

The president told Pelosi that it would be 'so very sad' if his speech weren't 'delivered on time, on schedule, and very importantly, on location!'

The president told Pelosi that it would be 'so very sad' if his speech weren't 'delivered on time, on schedule, and very importantly, on location!'

The president told Pelosi that it would be ‘so very sad’ if his speech weren’t ‘delivered on time, on schedule, and very importantly, on location!’

Pelosi signaled to members during a Wednesday caucus meeting that she did not expect the speech to take place, CNN reported — only to have the president publicly defy her in a letter the White House released publicly.

Presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway told a Fox News Channel audience that it would be ‘remarkably petty of the speaker to disinvite the President of the United States.’ 

She added that Pelosi is ‘going to have some explaining to do’ if she disinvites first lady Melania Trump and her guests.

‘The president intends to go to the chamber on Tuesday night to address our great nation and give them an update on the state of our union. It would be, I think, remarkably petty of the speaker to disinvite the President of the United States to address the nation that they both serve at the highest level,’ she said. 

Trump had been thought to be considering a rally on Tuesday in Texas but swatted back at Pelosi with his letter saying he will give the address in the House, as scheduled.

The president has the right to enter the House of Representatives at any time, but authority to speak is granted by lawmakers. And the have not passed a resolution granting it to him.

It comes in the form of a concurrent resolution that’s normally a formality. Rep. Steny Hoyer, the second in command in the House, said Wednesday that it could be easily passed. He deferred on the issue to Pelosi.

At the White House, speaking to reporters after her Fox appearance, Conway did not weigh in on the matter in the affirmative. She directed reporters to the president’s letter informing Pelosi that he would be delivering remarks to Joint Session of Congress on Jan. 29.

The government could be reopened by then, as the Senate will vote Thursday on two separate bills that would immediately end the government shutdown: one of which would fully fund Trump‘s border wall and another that will fund the closed agencies through February 8.  

GOP leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic leader Chuck Schumer announced the votes on the floor.

But neither bill is seen as having a strong chance of passing, increasing the odds that the government shut down will continue into next week. 

The FBI Agents’ Association assessed Tuesday that the shutdown was affecting the bureau’s operations in a 72-page report. FBI agents are also working without pay.

‘Serving my country has always been a privilege, but it has never been so hard or thankless,’ one said  in the report.

And at a news conference, Tom O’Connor, head of the group, also suggested that the shutdown that is interfering with operations is ultimately making America less safe.

‘The failure to fund the FBI undermines essential FBI operations, such as those designated to combat crimes against children, drug and gang crime, and terrorism,’ he said. 

Sanders brushed off the claims on Wednesday. ‘I think the country’s less safe because we have a completely open border,’ she responded.

‘We do everything we can every single day this the president’s number one priority, is protecting the people of this country, and he’s focused on doing that,’ she said. 

That is why he put forward the proposal that the Senate is planning to take up on Thursday, she said. 

Trump’s proposal may not making it over a 60-vote hump in the Senate, however, and the White House has stayed mum on Senate Democrats’ intentions to bring forward the resolution reopening the government. 

Sanders told Fox News that she ‘certainly hopes’ that Trump’s plan will pass. 

It said in a formal statement of administration policy on Wednesday morning, the White House said that Trump would sign the bill as written, leaving wiggle room for him to reject it if the Senate tacks on provisions he doesn’t agree with.  

President Trump gave Senate Republicans a slogan on Wednesday in an attempt to boil his argument for a border barrier down to its essence as they prepare for the showdown votes Thursday.

‘BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL!’ the president tweeted. ‘This is the new theme, for two years until the Wall is finished (under construction now), of the Republican Party. Use it and pray!’ 

Trump’s framing of his new project-branding campaign as a two-year effort suggests he intends it to be a 2020 slogan, which suggests he expects the battle over his signature campaign promise to be a long one. 

He has been relentless in framing his long-promised U.S.-Mexico wall as a tool for stopping drug trafficking and a string of high-profile murders linked to illegal immigrants.

He tweeted Wednesday that there is ‘[g]reat unity in the Republican Party,’ and declared that GOp senators ‘[w]ant to, once and for all, put an end to stoppable crime and drugs! Border Security and Wall. No doubt!’    

'Build the wall & crime will fall,' Trump tweeted on Wednesday as the U.S. Senate gears up for a pair of test votes Thursday on reopening the government

'Build the wall & crime will fall,' Trump tweeted on Wednesday as the U.S. Senate gears up for a pair of test votes Thursday on reopening the government

‘Build the wall & crime will fall,’ Trump tweeted on Wednesday as the U.S. Senate gears up for a pair of test votes Thursday on reopening the government

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell announced  a plan to vote on bills to end the shutdown

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell announced  a plan to vote on bills to end the shutdown

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell announced  a plan to vote on bills to end the shutdown

He and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer made a joint appearance on the Senate floor to announce Thursday's vote on a pair of competing bills

He and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer made a joint appearance on the Senate floor to announce Thursday's vote on a pair of competing bills

He and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer made a joint appearance on the Senate floor to announce Thursday’s vote on a pair of competing bills

The offer to hold votes on competing bills shows the pressure lawmakers are feeling the heat to reopen the federal government.  

As it stands, the Senate will vote at 2:30 p.m. Thursday on back-to-back measures: the first vote will be on Trump’s proposal that includes temporary protection to DACA recipients and gives him the $5.7 billion he needs to build his border wall. 

A second vote on House Democrats’ bill to temporarily re-open the government until February 8 to allow paychecks to go out while legislators negotiate a resolution on border security funding. It does not include the funding for the president’s wall.

Each leader praised his respective party’s plan in floor remarks.

‘To reject this proposal, Democrats would have to prioritize political combat with the president ahead of federal workers, ahead of DACA recipients, ahead of border security, and ahead of stable and predictable government funding. Is that really a price that Democrats want to pay to prolong this episode, which they say they want to be over and done with?’ McConnell said of the president’s proposal. 

Schumer said his party’s plan will allow the debate to continue ‘without hostage taking, without temper tantrum, without anything’ for two weeks of negotiations.

‘So if you’re looking for a way to open up the government, this is the way,’ Schumer said of the second vote on the Democratic proposal,’ he argued.

Both measures will need 60 votes to advance in the legislative process – an uphill battle that will be hard for the bills to beat.  

If Democrats withhold their support from the motion to proceed to Trump’s plan, which comes to the floor first, and Republicans do not lend their support to the second measure, the shutdown will continue with no conceivable way forward.

Trump outlined his plan to end the government shutdown in a Saturday address, offering congressional Democrats three years of legislative relief for 700,000 DACA recipients — including protection from deportation — and an extension of legal residence for people living in the country under ‘Temporary Protective Status’ designations.

DACA refers to the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which offered a no-deportation guarantee to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants whose parents brought them into the U.S. as minors. 

TPS is a Justice Department program that grants residency and work permits to people from 10 countries affected by natural disasters or brutal armed conflicts. They include El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, South Sudan and Yemen.

When the measure was formally unveiled Monday night it also included several changes to asylum law that would make it more difficult for people to seek refuge from persecution in their home countries, though.

Democratic congressional leaders, who had already rejected the president’s offer, were outraged. Schumer called the changes to asylum law a ‘poison pen’ that will keep the bill that would fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year from being passed. 

One measure would fully fund President Trump's border wall 

One measure would fully fund President Trump's border wall 

One measure would fully fund President Trump’s border wall 

For 33 days, the partial government shutdown has put federal agencies on shoestring operations, as most federal workers in the Departments of Transportation, State, Justice and even the White House endure severe furloughs. 

Friday is pay day for federal workers whose agencies were funded through a separate agreement last year. For workers and shuttered departments, however, it will second pay cycle in which they are not paid.   

After an appearance on CBNC, which he did from the White House press briefing room on Tuesday , the president’s chief economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said the administration understands the ‘hardship’ that federal workers are facing and has been working diligently to reopen the government.

‘I don’t want to belittle it. No one likes the hardship that people are having to shoulder. I understand that, including myself. I have young people on my staff who are concerned, I get that,’ he said. 

The senior White House official who is also working without pay said, ‘The president made a very strong statement on Saturday, and we’re waiting, for Democrats to come to the table, and show their share of the negotiations. Ok? We’re waiting for them,’ he said. ‘We have to solve this. Literally, the fate of the nation hinges on this.

‘So, while I will acknowledge there are hardships, look, absolutely. Nonetheless, the principles at the southern border, involving the southern border, and elsewhere, the whole immigration story, the DACA story, these are things that should have been solved by Congresses years and years ago under both, you know, Democrat and Republican parties. It’s time. It’s time.’

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio spoke to cameras outside the White House minutes later and said that Congress must take the deal that Trump is offering to get the government back open. 

‘I feel terrible for workers,’ he said. ‘I don’t like shutdowns. I don’t think anyone ever wins a shutdown. People certainly lose the shutdown. And it begins with the men and women who are not getting paid. And that’s why it is so important that Speaker Pelosi take up the president’s offer to negotiate. And he’s made an opening bid, which I think is a very reasonable one.’

Rubio said that the way the process works in this republic, is that Democrats will have a chance on the floor to amend the bill detailing the president’s offer. And then it will go to the House, where Nancy Pelosi can make her own changes.

‘But this isn’t going to end, unless both sides are willing to compromise,’ he said. ‘But the speaker’s position seems to be that she demands he unconditional surrender of the president on every position involving the shutdown. 

He said, ‘That’s unreasonable. It’s illogical. It’s irrational. And this needs to end by both sides talking, and both sides willing to make compromises. The president’s taken the first step, and now it’s up to Speaker Pelosi to reciprocate.’ 

Fellow Florida Sen. Rick Scott, the former governor of the Sunshine State who just joined Congress, chimed in to blame Pelosi for the shutdown.

Taking a page out of the president’s book, he said, ‘We know we have to have secure borders, so why don’t we get something done. It’s Nancy Pelosi … She just wants a complete surrender. 

‘So the president’s made a proposal. We’re gonna get that passed on, hopefully getting that passed on Thursday. We can have a negotiation,’ he said. 

U.S. Coast Guard families receive free groceries during a food giveaway on January 19, 2019 in Novato, California, where 150 families who are currently not being paid

U.S. Coast Guard families receive free groceries during a food giveaway on January 19, 2019 in Novato, California, where 150 families who are currently not being paid

U.S. Coast Guard families receive free groceries during a food giveaway on January 19, 2019 in Novato, California, where 150 families who are currently not being paid

They received free groceries during an event organized by the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank

They received free groceries during an event organized by the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank

They received free groceries during an event organized by the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank

The Coast Guard is the only branch of the military that's not receiving paychecks. That's because it's part of the Department of Homeland Security, not the Pentagon

The Coast Guard is the only branch of the military that's not receiving paychecks. That's because it's part of the Department of Homeland Security, not the Pentagon

The Coast Guard is the only branch of the military that’s not receiving paychecks. That’s because it’s part of the Department of Homeland Security, not the Pentagon

The government shutdown has also complicated the president’s plans to give his State of the Union address on Jan. 29. Pelosi says he should wait until the shutdown is over. 

Trump said in a Sunday morning tweet that he is still considering his options. Sources told DailyMail.com that he could hold a rally in Texas, north of the border, next Tuesday, instead. 

Sanders has vaguely committed the president to moving forward with the address as planned. She didn’t reject the notion that he could rally outright in an appearance on Fox News on Wednesday morning.

Pelosi is telling her caucus not to invite family members to Washington for the speech, CNN reported on Wednesday, indicating a belief on her part that it may not happen. 

Scott said Tuesday after a meeting of the Florida delegation with Trump at the White House that ‘he needs to do it, he needs to do it at the House, there’s no reason in the world this shouldn’t happen – it’s part of the constitution.

‘It’s ridiculous that Nancy Pelosi is even talking about this,’ he said.

Rubio said that Trump should ‘absolutely’ give his address, as well, as it has been a constant for America ‘in times of war, in times of great crisis and in times of extraordinary division’ and he hopes that it will take place.

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