The head of the House Democratic Caucus said Wednesday that it’s all but certain party leaders will prevent President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump defends indicted GOP congressman House to vote Thursday on holding Bannon in contempt Youngkin calls for investigation into Loudoun County School Board amid sexual assault allegations MORE from giving his State of the Union address if the government remains closed on its scheduled Jan. 29 date.
“It’s absolutely not clear … what his present intention is,” Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesSinema in Arizona as Democrats try to get spending-infrastructure deal LIVE COVERAGE: Biden tries to unify divided House Democrats search for sweet spot below .5 trillion price tag MORE (D-N.Y.) told reporters in the Capitol. “But I can say that unless the government is reopened, it’s highly unlikely that the State of the Union is going to take place on the floor of the United States House of Representatives.”
The remarks are the latest volley in the back-and-forth between the White House and House Democrats over the president’s annual speech to Congress and the country.
Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWhite House: Window for finalizing sweeping budget package 'closing' Emanuel to take hot seat in Senate confirmation hearing Fixing Congress requires fixing how it legislates MORE (D-Calif.), upon taking the gavel on Jan. 3, had invited Trump to deliver his speech on Jan. 29. Last week, however, Pelosi suggested the address be postponed until the partial shutdown has ended, citing security concerns surrounding the high-profile event.
Pelosi did not rescind her initial invitation, but asked the president to “work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened.”
In response, Trump canceled a scheduled trip by Pelosi and other Democrats to Belgium and Afghanistan. He did not address the State of the Union request directly.
And on Tuesday, the White House asked the House Sergeant-at-Arms for a walk-through of the Capitol in preparation for the speech — the clearest signal yet that Trump is still planning to deliver the address on its scheduled date.
While Pelosi has not responded to the walk-through request, Jeffries’s remarks strongly suggest the Speaker is not prepared to allow it to happen.