House GOP blast Pelosi for suggesting State of the Union delay

House GOP leaders on Wednesday blasted Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSekulow indicates White House not interested in motion to dismiss impeachment articles Overnight Health Care: Trump restores funding for Texas program that bars Planned Parenthood | Trump to attend March for Life | PhRMA spent record on 2019 lobbying Key House committee chairman to meet with Mnuchin on infrastructure next week MORE (D-Calif.) over her call to delay President TrumpDonald John TrumpMnuchin knocks Greta Thunberg's activism: Study economics and then 'come back' to us The Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 Owen McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Cheney's decision not to run for Senate sparks Speaker chatter Mark Mellman: A failure of GOP leadership 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 Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Cheney's decision not to run for Senate sparks Speaker chatter Trump welcomes LSU to the White House: 'Go Tigers' 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.”