By Maggie Haberman, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Julie Hirschfeld Davis
New York Times News Service
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said he would look for alternative venues for his State of the Union address on Tuesday, appearing to capitulate after Speaker Nancy Pelosi again told him she would not invite him to deliver it at the House until the government reopens.
The decision came after a tit-for-tat between Trump and Pelosi over the State of the Union address. Trump told Pelosi on Wednesday that he would deliver the speech in the Capitol next week as originally scheduled. Pelosi fired back that he was not welcome unless the government was fully open.
It had concluded, at least by late afternoon, with Trump declaring at the White House, “The State of the Union has been canceled by Nancy Pelosi because she doesn’t want to hear the truth.”
Pelosi had invited Trump to deliver the speech in a letter on Jan. 3. But on Jan. 16, she warned that there were security concerns about the president’s coming to Capitol Hill because of the partial government shutdown, which began about a month ago.
On Wednesday, Trump responded, sending Pelosi a letter in which he said that he had checked — and that there were no such concerns from the Secret Service.
“Therefore, I will be honoring your invitation, and fulfilling my Constitutional duty, to deliver important information to the people and Congress of the United States of America regarding the State of our Union,” the president wrote.
“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!” he wrote.
Within hours, Pelosi fired back with a letter of her own, telling the president she would not pass a resolution authorizing him to come until the government has reopened. “Again, I look forward to welcoming you to the House on a mutually agreeable date for this address when government has been opened,” she wrote.
Back at the White House, Trump appeared to have gotten the message, saying he would explore alternatives.
“She’s afraid of the super-left Democrats, the radical Democrats. What’s going on in that party is shocking,” he said. He called her refusal “a great blotch on the great country we all love.”