With the government shutdown stretching to nearly a month, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi asked President Donald Trump to postpone the upcoming State of the Union address. In a letter to the president on Wednesday, she wrote,
Given the security concerns and unless the government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th.
Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of Homeland Security, took to Twitter to ensure the public that the State of the Union can go ahead as planned.
The Department of Homeland Security and the US Secret Service are fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union. We thank the Service for their mission focus and dedication and for all they do each day to secure our homeland.
— Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen (@SecNielsen) January 16, 2019
Thursday, Alabama 5th District Rep. Republican Mo Brooks called for President Trump to move the speech from the House to the Senate Chamber in response, In a letter to the president, Vice President Pence, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Brooks called Pelosi’s request “hyper partisan.” He concluded his letter by saying,
I most strongly encourage Vice-President Mike Pence, in his Constitutional capacity as the presiding officer of the Senate, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to invite President Trump to report to the American people on the state of the union in the Senate Chamber. While traditionally these addresses have been held in the House Chamber due to its larger size, inasmuch as House Democrats apparently do not want to hear from the President anyway, overcrowding of the Senate chamber should not be an issue. I urge President Trump, Vice-President Pence (as President of the Senate), and Leader McConnell to maintain January 29, 2019 as the date on which President Trump can address the American people from the Senate Chamber, thus putting President Trump with our first president, George Washington, who also gave his first State of the Union address in the Capitol’s Senate Chamber.
Brooks also responded to Pelosi on Wednesday, saying she was using the address as a “political bargaining chip.”