President Donald Trump offered his nemesis an olive branch on Sunday over their disagreement about the State of the Union address, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sought to delay amid the government shutdown.
Trump said that there are “so many options” for him to deliver the national address, contradicting what Pelosi has said about the feasibility of giving the speech amid the ongoing shutdown.
“Nancy, I am still thinking about the State of the Union speech,” Trump tweeted. “There are so many options — including doing it as per your written offer (made during the [s]hutdown, security is no problem), and my written acceptance. While a contract is a contract, I’ll get back to you soon!”
Trump hails “many options” for SOTU
Trump’s Sunday tweet struck a conciliatory tone that was at odds with Trump’s reply to a missive from Pelosi on Wednesday asking to delay the speech or submit it to Congress in writing. Trump responded by canceling military travel for Pelosi’s congressional delegation to Afghanistan and other countries at the last minute the next day.
The move was widely seen as a bit of political judo that some considered petty and passive-aggressive, but it was no less petty than Pelosi’s letter asking to delay the State of the Union, scheduled for Jan. 29, because of made-up security concerns amid the ongoing shutdown. Pelosi claimed that the Department of Homeland Security and the Secret Service would be understaffed and unable to secure the event, but both agencies quickly disputed the claim.
Trump reiterated that “security is no problem” in his Sunday tweet and contradicted Pelosi’s depiction of the shutdown as posing an insurmountable obstacle to the State of the Union. The tweet marked Trump’s first direct response to Pelosi’s request for a delay. Meanwhile, some Republicans, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), suggested that Trump could deliver from the speech from the Senate floor and ignore Pelosi entirely.
Could @realDonaldTrump deliver the State of the Union Address in the Senate? The Senate floor is smaller than the House floor, but as you can see in this photograph, there are enough seats if some of us sit in the gallery. #SOTU pic.twitter.com/3o4iqMTEQc
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) January 19, 2019
This State of the Union spat came as the shutdown stretched into its fourth week, as Democrats still refused to negotiate for $5 billion in border wall funding. Pelosi’s State of the Union trick was widely seen as a bad-faith delay tactic.
“Radical” Pelosi fails to make a deal
Trump’s tweet was sandwiched in between attacks on Pelosi on Sunday in which the president described her as a “radical Democrat” who is pandering to the open borders progressives in her base of whom she is “petrified.” He also made fun of Pelosi over the pollution problem in San Francisco, CA, which is located in Pelosi’s congressional district.
Nancy Pelosi has behaved so irrationally & has gone so far to the left that she has now officially become a Radical Democrat. She is so petrified of the “lefties” in her party that she has lost control…And by the way, clean up the streets in San Francisco, they are disgusting!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2019
The attacks marked a rare escalation in Trump’s rhetoric against Pelosi. He is said to respect Pelosi and normally avoids using his typically pugnacious rhetoric against the California Democrat. Indeed, Trump has called Pelosi’s colleague in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, “Cryin’ Chuck,” but he has yet to give Pelosi a similarly demeaning nickname.
Apparently running out of patience with Pelosi, Trump criticized her for turning down his weekend compromise offer to end the shutdown by trading wall funding for three-year extensions on protections for illegal immigrants shielded from deportation by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and said that the Democrats are only interested in denying him a victory as they prepare to unseat him in 2020. Pelosi rejected Trump’s offer as a “non-starter” before he even announced it Saturday and demanded that he open the government immediately before border negotiations begin.
“Nancy Pelosi and some of the Democrats turned down my offer yesterday before I even got up to speak,” Trump lamented on Twitter. “They don’t see crime [and] drugs, they only see 2020 — which they are not going to win.”
Trump also blasted Pelosi’s claim that the wall was “immoral” and speculated whether existing border barrier must now be taken down according to the Democrats’ new moral standards.
If Nancy Pelosi thinks that Walls are “immoral,” why isn’t she requesting that we take down all of the existing Walls between the U.S. and Mexico, even the new ones just built in San Diego at their very strong urging. Let millions of unchecked “strangers” just flow into the U.S.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 21, 2019