Trumps delays State of the Union address until govt shutdown ends, Latest World News - The New Paper

Trumps delays State of the Union address until govt shutdown ends

This article is more than 12 months old

US president postpones speech until government shutdown is over

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump backed down on Wednesday in a spat with Democrats over his State of the Union address, agreeing to delay it until a government shutdown ends, although the longest ever impasse drags on.

The US Senate prepared yesterday to hold two showdown votes on measures to reopen the shuttered federal agencies, but Mr Trump's toxic sparring with House speaker Nancy Pelosi essentially assured no solution was at hand.

An intensifying war of words between the president and Ms Pelosi came to a head on Wednesday with the top Democrat effectively blocking Mr Trump from delivering his annual address in Congress until the partial government shutdown, now in its 34th day, is brought to an end.

But in a tweet sent after 11 pm, Mr Trump wrote, "As the Shutdown was going on, Nancy Pelosi asked me to give the State of the Union Address. I agreed."

"She then changed her mind because of the Shutdown, suggesting a later date. This is her prerogative - I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over."

As acrimony in Washington grew, lawmakers were left searching in vain for an exit strategy for the longest ever halt to federal operations, as furloughed government employees and contractors vented their fury on Capitol Hill.

Traditionally the president's annual speech is delivered before a joint session of Congress in the chamber of the House of Representatives.

In an effort to force the hand of Ms Pelosi, who had already urged Mr Trump to reschedule due to shutdown-related security shortcomings, the president wrote to her saying it would be "so very sad for our country" if his speech could not be delivered on time and in the chamber.


Ms Pelosi, who has become the face of Democratic opposition to Trump in Congress, pushed back, informing the president that the House would only agree to host him for his speech "when government has been opened".

Mr Trump now appears to have capitulated.

The shutdown, which has seen some 800,000 federal employees left without pay for a month, was triggered by Mr Trump's refusal to sign funding bills last month, in retaliation for Democratic opposition to funds for extending walls along the US-Mexico border. - AFP