House GOP leaders on Wednesday blasted Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiJudge to hear Trump's case against Jan. 6 committee in November Kamala Harris engages with heckler during New York speech GOP lawmaker calls for Meghan, Harry to lose royal titles over paid leave push MORE (D-Calif.) over her call to delay President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Twitter's algorithm boosts right-leaning content, internal study finds Ohio Democrat calls Vance an 'ass----' over Baldwin tweet Matt Taibbi says Trump's rhetoric caused public perception of US intelligence services to shift MORE’s State of the Union address during the partial government shutdown, saying she should "keep her word" and asking "what is she afraid of hearing?"
Republican leadership also suggested that Trump should come to the Capitol to deliver his annual update even if she decides to rescind the formal invitation.
Although Pelosi originally invited Trump to give the speech on January 29, in a letter sent to Trump on Wednesday, Pelosi called for the address to the Joint Session of Congress to be pushed back or delivered in writing instead.
Currently, there is no clear path forward to end the partial government shutdown, which is in its fourth week, as negotiators remain at an impasse over funding for Trump's border wall.
“I think he should come here and give a speech like everybody else. I watched when Republicans had the majority in the House, never did we disinvite President Obama. Never did we put politics ahead of America. That is what she is doing,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyCheney reveals GOP's Banks claimed he was Jan. 6 panel's ranking member House votes to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress GOP memo urges lawmakers to blame White House 'grinches' for Christmas delays MORE(R-Calif.) told reporters Wednesday.
"It shouldn't be what else should happen - he should come here, he should give the speech and Speaker Pelosi should act like a Speaker and have the president and keep her word," he said.
House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseThe 9 Republicans who voted to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — US cracks down on tools for foreign hacking House passes bills to secure telecommunications infrastructure MORE (R-La.) echoed McCarthy's sentiments, arguing Democrats’ push to delay the address “shows incredible insecurity on their part” in terms of border security and shutdown messaging.
“I'd encourage the president to still come and we'll find a place for him to speak. But I think it's important that the country hear what he has to say," he said.
While Pelosi cited security concerns due to “critical departments hamstrung by furloughs” as her reason for pushing for the delay, both McCarthy and Scalise said they believe the move was purely political after the Department of Homeland Security secretary said Secret Service is ready and able to secure the event.
“I mean what is she afraid of hearing from the president? There are no security concerns that have been raised and it has nothing to do with that,” Scalise said. “Ironically, it seems like she's only concerned about security when it's a state of the Union that will expose what this fights all about. But she's not concerned about securing the border of our country.
McCarthy said rescinding the invitation would be “unheard of,” adding that regardless of whether political beliefs align, the president should have the right to speak on the floor.
“The history of this House is to always have the president come and give a speech, to change course like that shows she's playing politics with her position as Speaker and it's not a place where this House should be,” McCarthy said.
“It is not a security issue, that's politics and you know it. For her to say security, no, we have security here, right now, we have security with the president - there is no security issue. It's pure politics and it's wrong.”