White House asks to do walk-through for State of the Union

The White House has asked Congress to conduct a walk-through of President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 MORE’s State of the Union address, a sign he might disregard Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Democrats seek leverage for trial The Memo: Pelosi-Trump trade deal provokes debate on left MORE’s (D-Calif.) request to reschedule it.

Trump’s staff sent a letter to the House Sergeant-at-Arms asking to schedule a dry run for the annual speech, the White House confirmed on Tuesday. A previously scheduled walk-through was postponed last week amid bickering over the date between Trump and Pelosi.

The letter was first reported by Fox News.

ADVERTISEMENT

Pelosi last week asked Trump to delay the speech scheduled for Jan. 29, citing security concerns caused by the partial government shutdown. Trump responded by scrapping the Speaker’s planned overseas trip to Brussels and Afghanistan.

Some Republicans have suggested alternative venues, such as the Senate chamber or a state house, but the letter is an indication Trump wants to move forward with the speech as planned.

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley was noncommittal when asked about the address earlier Tuesday.

“We have no announcement at this time, but Nancy Pelosi does not dictate to the president when he will or will not have a conversation with the American people,” he said on Fox News.

Asked whether the White House is looking at different venues, Gidley responded that “there are many ways he can deliver the State of the Union address, I’m not going to get ahead of anything he would announce.”

Still, it remains unclear whether the speech will happen on Jan. 29. Both the Sergeant-at-Arms and Pelosi's office on Tuesday morning did not respond to a request for comment.

Pelosi on Jan. 3, the same day she took the Speaker's gavel, invited Trump to give his speech to a joint session of Congress in the House chamber.

But last Wednesday, she asked the president to postpone the date until the shutdown is over. She did not disinvite him, however, instead suggesting that, unless the spending impasse was broken last week, the two “work together to determine another suitable date.”

On Friday, Pelosi amplified that message.

“He’s been invited,” she told reporters in the Capitol. “All we said is, ‘Let’s work together for another date when government is open.’”

Mike Lillis and Brett Samuels contributed.