State of the Union speech after govt shutdown ends, says Trump
United States President Donald Trump has agreed to deliver the State of the Union address, which was scheduled for next week, at a later date only after the partial government shutdown comes to an end.
Trump’s climbdown marks a pitched battle with Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
Trump signalled the move in a late evening Tweet on Wednesday. “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,” he wrote.
The US president added, “I look forward to giving a ‘great’ State of the Union Address in the near future!”
Pelosi responded shortly after, also on Twitter. “Mr. President, I hope by saying ‘near future’ you mean you will support the House-passed package to #EndTheShutdown that the Senate will vote on tomorrow. Please accept this proposal so we can re-open government, repay our federal workers and then negotiate our differences,” she posted.
The Republican-led Senate votes on Thursday on two competing bills, with neither expected to get the 60 votes needed to pass. One of them, backed by Republicans, encompasses Trump’s proposal including the $5.7 billion funding for a wall in return for temporary relief from deportation for immigrants brought to the US illegally as children.
The second bill, backed by Democrats, is the package referred to by Pelosi. It funds the shuttered government departments till February 8.
Michael Cohen, the US president’s one-time lawyer and fixer, has pulled out of - as of now - a commitment to testify before the Congress citing threats to his family from Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani.