United States President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have agreed on February 5 as the date for his annual State of the Union address, Pelosi’s spokesperson Drew Hammil announced on Tuesday. The event had been postponed because of the partial government shutdown, which ended on January 25. Pelosi had cited security concerns as a reason for the postponement.
The State of the Union speech is an annual address by the president in front of both chambers of the Congress. It highlights the administration’s priorities for the year ahead. Pelosi is a leader of the Democratic Party, which controls the House of Representatives.
She wrote to Trump inviting him to make his address in the House of Representatives after the two of them agreed on a date. The President wrote back to accept her invitation, CNN reported. “It is my great honour to accept,” Trump wrote. “We have a great story to tell and yet, great goals to achieve!”
The Trump administration had considered ways to circumvent Pelosi’s order including mulling over alternative venues than the House for the address and tried apparent pressure tactics like blocking a Pelosi-led congressional delegation’s trip to Afghanistan.
The US federal government had shut down partially on December 22 after Democrats refused to allocate $5.7 billion in funding sought by Trump to build a wall along the US border with Mexico. It was the longest shutdown in history.
On January 24, Pelosi wrote a letter to Trump explaining her reason for postponing the speech. She had said that the invitation was sent on January 3, when there was “no thought that the government would still be shut down”.
Trump reacted to the postponement with a pledge to “do something in the alternative”, The New York Times reported. Hours later, he tweeted that he was “not looking for an alternative venue for the address because there is no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber”.