Trump agrees to postpone State of the Union

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US President Donald Trump has agreed to postpone his State of the Union address until after the government shutdown.

The move comes after a week-long stand-off with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had asked him to delay the speech until after the dispute was resolved.

The White House had initially ignored her request, saying it would stick with the planned date of 29 January.

But late on Wednesday, Mr Trump tweeted: “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.

“I am not looking for an alternative venue for the SOTU address because there is no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber.

“I look forward to giving a ‘great’ State of the Union address in the near future!”

The government shutdown headed for a record 34th day as the stalemate continued over funding for Mr Trump’s proposed wall on the Mexican border.

Some 800,000 federal workers are affected, many working without pay.

The saga over the speech, one of the president’s main opportunities to lay out his agenda to the public, began last week when Ms Pelosi had asked Mr Trump to make other plans.

She had not, however, said he would not be allowed to deliver his speech in the chamber, adding that when she had made her initial invitation, “there was no thought that the government would still be shut down”.

Responding to that, Mr Trump had said he was not surprised by the “disgraceful” cancellation and that Democrats had become “radicalised”.

Mr Trump called her bluff later on Wednesday, saying he intended to come along anyway, writing in a letter: “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.”

Ms Pelosi had upped the ante, replying that the Democrat-controlled House would not pass the measure required to allow the president to address the country from the chamber.

Responding to Mr Trump’s latest tweets, she wrote: “Mr President, I hope by saying ‘near future’ you mean you will support the House-passed package to end the shutdown that the senate will vote on tomorrow.

“Please accept this proposal so we can reopen government, repay our federal workers and then negotiate our differences.”

It would not be the first time that the important speech has been delayed – the US Constitution dictates only that it should occur “from time to time”.

For example, Ronald Reagan’s address was postponed after the Challenger space shuttle exploded in January 1986.

But it would be the first time an invitation has been withdrawn.

(c) Sky News 2019: Trump agrees to postpone State of the Union

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