House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she has not yet heard from President Donald Trump, 24 hours after sending him a letter suggesting that the State of the Union Address be delayed until he re-opens the government or that he deliver it in a letter or from the Oval Office.
As House speaker, Pelosi gets to decide when and if POTUS delivers speechwriter/adviser Stephen Miller’s address to the joint session of Congress on January 29 at which, TV political pundits reported, a good-ish chunk of time would be used to pitch not the state of the union but Trump’s border wall that he wants taxpayers to finance after promising that Mexico would cover costs.
At a Thursday morning presser, Pelosi rejected one reporter’s suggestion she was trying to deny Trump a platform.
“I’m not denying him a platform at all. I’m saying let’s get a date when the government is open. Let’s pay the employees,” she said, adding, “Maybe he thinks it’s okay not to pay people who do work . I don’t.”
The Department of Homeland Security and Secret Service staffers who would be asked to protect the Congress, POTUS, Veep, Cabinet, Supreme Court and others who would be in the hall for the address. They are working without pay while a chunk of the government is shut down over Trump’s border wall. It is the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, with no end in sight.
DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has assured in a tweet that the DHS and SS “are fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union.” Nielsen, who Trump has trashed in the past, has a credibility issue, having come before Congress previously to discuss the government’s baby snatching border policy, during which she could not say how many children had died in her custody.
Another reporter suggested that giving Trump his January 29 SOTU address go-ahead would “lower the temperature” in Washington, which the reporter suggested might be “healthy.”
Pelosi responded that she’s more concerned about people not getting paychecks to pay for their homes, their food, and their medical needs.
“The heat we want to lower is the heat in the lives of the American people,” she responded smoothly. “There is a story storm that is going on all over the country. We want to convey the reality of this cruel policy in the lives of these workers … and every family that is affected. And it goes beyond those [federal] employees into the country. Even the president’s people are saying GDP will not grow as long as this shutdown is there.”
Pelosi added, “The president’s insistence on the wall is a luxury the country can no longer afford.”