Trump thinks he's going to deliver his State of the Union speech in the House chamber, even though Nancy Pelosi already told him no.
Last week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to Trump pointing out that, in light of the government shutdown, it would be appropriate to delay his State of the Union address to Congress.
True to form, Trump is ignoring that request and insisting that he will deliver the speech in the House chamber anyway. He's even demanded a time to schedule a walk-through of the House chamber for White House and Secret Service personnel.
Pelosi's concerns are well-founded. The State of the Union is a massive security undertaking, and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen — whose department is currently de-funded thanks to the shutdown — is the person who designated the speech a National Special Security Event.
Thanks to Trump's utter refusal to yield in his demand for a wall no one wants, many of the employees who would need to coordinate security for the event are furloughed. It is irresponsible for Trump even to suggest that such a high-profile, high-risk event should be conducted without adequate personnel or with unpaid employees.
It isn't really surprising that Trump would ignore the fact that, however ceremonial it may be, he does have to be invited to deliver his speech to Congress in the House chamber.
After two years of complete Republican control, Trump seems both enraged and befuddled by any pushback from Democrats. That includes an incredibly confusing tweet, even by Trumpian standards, where he appeared to say he already has a contract in place to deliver the speech wherever he wants.
Trump's newfound faith in the binding power of contracts is especially disingenuous given his disdain for them in every other situation. He routinely stiffed the people that worked for him. He had to pay eight figures to settle claims against his scammy "university." To insist that he is owed his day in the House is absurd.
As Pelosi has pointed out, Trump is free to give his speech from the Oval Office or submit it in writing. She's not blocking him from talking. She's just telling him that he can't do it in her House.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.